Everyone needs someone to help him or her navigate the throes of life. As John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire to itself.” In truth, we cannot survive alone. We need others to walk along side of us. Every one needs help at some time, whether we admit it or not.
Such is the case in spiritual matters. We all need a mentor, a spiritual mentor.
A spiritual mentor can guide us, offering direction when we need it and challenging us when we think everything is fine. If we expect to grow in our faith and then put it into action, we need a mentor to direct us.
Mentoring can take various forms.
Mentors can approach us through books, instructing us from a distance, even over time. Biographies about people of faith can mentor us, as can the books they wrote and the things they taught. If they mentor us from the past we cannot ask questions. Even our contemporary mentors are often far enough removed that individual queries are not feasible. Unfortunately their mentorship is a monologue. Seldom can we engage in a dialogue with these mentors.
The Bible is a significant source of mentoring: from God – through his followers – and by God – through his Holy Spirit. Yes, the Holy Spirit can be a powerful mentor, if we are able to hear his voice and follow his direction.
Many people claim their pastor as a mentor, but this has many shortcomings. First mentoring from the pulpit is a one-to-many arrangement; interaction – just as with books – isn’t feasible in this format. And to expect your pastor to meet with every person one-on-one would leave no time for him or her to do anything else. Do the math and you’ll see. Besides most people already heap too many expectations on their ministers; to assume they can do one-on-one mentoring to the entire congregation isn’t realistic.
This means we need to find our own mentors. We can mentor one another. We should mentor one another.
Seek someone you can mentor and be available for someone to mentor you. You can even co-mentor one another. When one of you stumbles, the other can pick you up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Perhaps that’s why Jesus sent out his disciples in pairs (Luke 10:1).
Do you have a spiritual mentor? Are you a mentor to others? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.