Mentoring Definition: “Mentoring is a relational experience through which one person empowers another by sharing resources.”
The primary objective of mentoring others is to make it possible for a person to be effective in life and service for the Lord. In order for that to be a reality, a person has to desire to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. That means he is to be renewed after the image of Him who created him (Col 3:10) – a new creation (2Co 5:17), conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29).
Both the mentor and the one being mentored are to be like the Lord Jesus in holiness (1Pe 1:15,16), righteousness (1Jn 3:7), purity (1Jn 3:3), love (Eph 5:1,2), forgiveness (Col 3:13), compassion (Luk 6:36), endurance (Heb 12:2-4), submission (1Pe 2:21-24), humility and obedience (Php 2:5-8), kindness (Luk 6:35) and generosity (2Co 8:1-9). If this desire isn’t in both, the whole mentoring process will be an exercise in futility. Trust in the mentor on the part of the person being mentored is established when the mentor is a person who listens first. That mentor must keep promises made and also be transparent in a Christ-like way: “Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life …” (2Ti 3:10). We will begin with characteristics of a godly mentor.
A mentor is a steward of truth who has been given authority to pass on truth because he has been found to be a faithful, trustworthy person. The mentor is to be a tried and proven “practitioner” of what is passed on to others (1Co 4:1-15). A mentor has had personal experience as to what is important and valuable and what is to be ignored or deliberately turned away from because it is worthless. He knows Christ as Lord and is committed to submitting to the Lordship of Christ (Php 3:7-14).
The mentor’s joy is not based on circumstances but on his relationship with the Lord. He experiences the love and grace of the Lord no matter what is happening to him or where he is (Act 16:25ff.). “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me” (2Ti 4:17). A mentor knows who he is and knows that anything that is useful for God in his life comes from the “excellency of the power” that comes from God. He has learned that common trials bring uncommon grace (2Co 4:8-12).
A mentor can speak boldly about what he knows and has experienced because he knows he is speaking in the name of Jesus. He keeps back nothing that needs to be said but will not say what does not need to be said (Act 9:29). The mentor is confident in his ministry for the Lord and His people. He recognizes that a course is set before him by his Lord, and he goes forward with joy to accomplish the will of God (Act 20:22-24).
Considerate of Others
The mentor recognizes the needs others have when they are being tested. He does not want to cause unnecessary stress on others, but recognizes some things have to be endured for the sake of the gospel and fellow workers (Php 2:25-30). His attitude is such that other believers appreciate what he says, how he says it and why it must be said. There are standards of righteousness, morality and common courtesy that need to be adhered to (Philemon 7-14).
The mentor is consistent in his integrity. His reputation of godly sincerity testifies to the fact that he has no hidden motives behind his interest in the well-being and growth of others. He has experienced and appreciates unmerited grace from God. In his concern for others, he demonstrates that unmerited grace himself. He is a man of his word who does not say one thing and mean another. He is consistent enough to keep his commitments (2Co 1:12-17).
A mentor is constantly aware of his ministry being focused on Christ, as well as Christ being the focus of his own personal life. He deliberately avoids that which would dishonor his Lord and Savior. He does nothing that he knows is improper for a believer (2Co 6:3,4). To represent Christ in human flesh makes the mentor conscious of who he is and where he is at all times. The resurrection life of Christ is a reality to him as the Lord reaches out to others through him.
The mentor is not aggressive in a rebuke but corrects in love, dignity and grace. He is willing to say what is necessary, even if it causes grief, in order to bring about the changed behavior needed in a follower of Christ. There is a time to correct, and a time to reaffirm, demonstrate love and go on again (2Co 2:1-11). When wrong occurs in the mentoring process, it cannot be ignored. Careful, deliberate explanations of wrong need to be stated (Gal 2:1-15), and when correction has done its work, affirmation and fellowship can be restored.
Difficulties in mentoring occur and cannot be avoided. The mentor is not easily rattled by opposition, disappointment, pain and rejection. He keeps the goal in view and trusts God for what he cannot do anything about (2Co 12:8-10). The mentor does his work for the Lord, not the praise of men or self-satisfaction. He knows what he does is all for God and will be evaluated by the greatest Mentor of all, our Lord Jesus Christ, when He judges righteously (2Ti 4:7,8).
The mentor should be a person who talks straight, demonstrates respect and creates transparency that is obvious to those he mentors. He will need to right wrongs, show loyalty and deliver results to those he instructs. As time passes in mentoring, he will improve at confronting reality and clarifying what is expected. He will practice accountability himself and will take time to listen first before criticizing. He will keep his commitments and will be willing to extend trust to others.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me … commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2Ti 2:2). The impact of the “Power of One” can be seen in Barnabas (“encourager”), who successfully mentored at least two very different persons. One was a young man, John Mark, and the other was a very educated Pharisee, Saul, later to be called Paul.
 All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV.