Last week we showed how the apprentice could transition to mentoring others. We looked at the disciples of Christ and how they took up the challenge Christ put to them to spread the gospel and led others to Christ. In doing so, they operated as both apprentices and mentors. They were apprentices in that they followed the leading of their mentor. They were mentors in that they took others and established them in the faith.
This week, we conclude the Mentor/Apprentice Series by looking at specifics of the mentor/apprentice transition. What is that we as apprentices must do to truly establish ourselves as mentor-ready individuals? What can we as mentors do to establish apprentices in that role and what is it that we must do afterwards? The answer lies within the parting words of one of the greatest mentors in the Bible to one of his greatest apprentices:
The Final Charge
Paul was at the end of his road, both in ministry and in life. It would not be much longer and he would be celebrating in Paradise. As he sat in prison, though, Paul had a sense of urgency come over him. He had to make sure things were right before he moved on. He had placed men throughout the Roman Empire and established them as leaders. Those men had already gone on to begin mentoring other individuals, but Paul wanted to confirm that the focus of a mentor was clear. He wrote to Timothy to get this point across and ensure that all future leaders had the focus and the tools needed to operate as leaders and mentors in their community:
1. Proclaim publicly salvation through Jesus Christ
"Preach the word;"
We see this as preaching the word in 2 Timothy 4:2. This is to say we need to be prepared to speak the word of God in a prepared and orderly manner. This can be done through a pulpit, a public forum, or a Bible Study. It is the first thing Paul mentions because it is the most important. We have to be willing to spread the message of Christ, and doing so in an orderly and prepared manner is essential for people to grasp and understand it.
2. Be ready when their is opportunity and when their is none
"be instant in season, out of season;"
Paul lets Timothy know that there will be times when people will be happy to receive the message of Christ and their would be times when nobody will want to hear what he had to say. Still, he needed to be prepared because the seasons of the spiritual realm are not set like the seasons of the temporal. If we just wait around to teach when people show an interest, we risk dulling our minds and not being prepared to speak the word that Christ has for someone when they show themselves ready. We can be ready, or instant, by consistently reading and examining God's word and ensuring we understand even the most basic ideas of our beliefs.
3. Correct, rebuke, advise and comfort people to stay focused on God
"reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
This is one that most people aren't comfortable with, but it is important. We have to be willing to step in and correct those who are under our tutelage. If we had a good mentor, they steered us away from false doctrine and worldliness with a kind but firm rebuke or correction at times. They most likely were open to giving advice when it was warranted, and they offered comfort when things got rough. We have to do the same thing to those who we will lead if we want to be effective leaders. This does not mean we hit them over the head with a hammer, but we also don't turn blind eyes or even accept wrong thinking or doing when it occurs. We must be godly examples, and that entails having uncomfortable but necessary conversations at times.
4. Be calm and collected with how you handle people
"watch thou in all things,"
We mentioned this above briefly, but we can't expect people to take giant leaps to get to where we are in Christ. It took a process for us to get where we are today, and it will take those we lead time to get there, too. Sometimes, they will get things faster than we did, and other times, they will come along slower on things we understood easily. Being a leader takes patience, and if we want to keep people following Christ through us, we must be patient as Christ was patient.
5. Endure persecution
As you lead people, others will fight you. It may be your apprentice's family, friends or just random people in their lives, but somebody isn't going to be happy about their transformation. Those people are blinded to the revelation of Jesus Christ and most likely don't know what they are doing. Even if they do, though, it is not our job to get into debates and fights with them. They can ridicule and revile us all day, but know that there is an apprentice looking at you to see how you will react. If we operate like Jesus while the other person is wagging their tongue like a devil, who will the apprentice respect in the end? Continue teaching your apprentice and let God handle those who come against you as you lead them.
6. Spread the good tidings of Jesus Christ personally
"do the work of an evangelist"
We mentioned that their needs to be some preparation involved in teaching the gospel of Jesus, but there are times where you won't have your Bible Study chart or materials on hand. There may be a person that you encounter where you can't get back with them later and this is your only chance. We have to be ready and excited to speak out the message of Christ when those opportunities come. Having the Word grounded in your heart and mind helps, but also praying before we go into any public setting can prepare and tune our hearts to those who God wants us to speak to in the moment. Peter did it with the lame man. We can do the same today.
7. Fully immerse yourself in your calling
"make full proof of thy ministry."
You've probably noticed from the previous six items, but it bears mentioning, living for Christ and leading others to Him is a full-time occupation. Whether you are on the job/at school, running errands or enjoying extracurricular activities, you have to be prepared to operate in your calling. There are countless people we pass each day that we can help with the message of Jesus Christ. How may slip by us because we have left our spiritual "uniform" at home or church? We must be prepared if we want to make an impact. If we are, we can truly change our communities and world.
We hope you enjoyed this Mentor/Apprentice Series. We believe that through this series, we can see a new generation of leaders in communities around our world. We have people who have wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We have people who need and want to receive it. It is our hope that, through this series, we have helped you in understanding how these two offices work and how you can be effective in whatever role you fit into right now.
We will have a preview video next week for our newest series:
We look forward to sharing more with you about this series next week!
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.