Mentoring and Instructing

Mentoring

Mentoring is probably what most people think of when they hear of discipleship.  They think of two people sitting down and discussing spiritual matters.  This is a fair summation of mentoring but it can also be oversimplified.

A mentoring relationship may be built upon a previous modeling relationship or it may be a new relationship.  In a mentoring relationship, modeling is still being performed at times however.  One big difference is that there is a conscious effort on the part of both sides that want the mentoring to take place.

As said before, modeling can be done for anyone and you don’t need permission to model a Christian life.  In a mentoring relationship, the mentor will show a person what to do and then explain what is being done.  Or the modeling may have been done in the past and once the mentoring stage is begun, the mentor explains the action.

In John 21:15-17, Jesus mentors Peter.  Three times he asks if Peter loves him, then he instructs him to feed his sheep.  Previously, Peter had heard Jesus speak about shepherding and being the Good Shepherd.  He had seen Jesus model love wherever they went.  At this time, Jesus needs to remind Peter of the example that has already been given.

What other examples of mentoring are there in the Bible?

Can you think of ways this can be implemented in our church? 

Instructing 

We are all familiar with instruction.  In its simplest form, it is teaching another believer some truth.  In the great commission, Jesus told his disciples to teach others to obey everything he commanded.  The disciples responded by instructing with several methods.

In a mentoring relationship there is often instruction involved but most often it is on an individual basis or at most a small group.  Instruction can be done with thousands of people at the same time.  It is unlikely that we will have the opportunity to address thousands at once but we may address more than a small group.

Instruction does not need to be verbal; it can be in the form of a letter like many books of the New Testament.  Today it can take the form of an email or be posted on a web page.

Instruction can be personal or impersonal.  You may know the instructor or not.  Like mentoring though, for instruction to be effective, you need to have a willing student.  You can try to instruct some people but if they don’t want to listen, you are wasting your breath.  (The surgeon general tries to instruct people that smoking is bad for your health but fails when people are not willing to listen.)

What other methods of instructing can you think of?

How is instructing like modeling and mentoring?  How is it different?

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