Jesus’ Example of Mentoring
Jesus faced the task of changing the lives of people thousands of years after Him- and He succeeded. He did it without writing any book, building any schools, or founding any institutions. So if Jesus chose to deposit His legacy in people, we should learn His method and practice it as best as we can. In the Bible we find the ideal model of a mentor to follow, Jesus, the Master-teacher. The following is how He did it:
- INSTRUCTION in a life-related context.
(He taught and instructed them verbally.)
Jesus constantly taught, most often with parables, and discussed hundreds of issues with the twelve. When the disciples would ask Him the meaning of a parable, He explained it, revealing insightful truth wrapped in a story. While his mentoring was so much more than ”words,” he always provided them with careful and clear instruction and teaching.
“…Jesus climbed the mountain with His disciples and taught them…” Matthew 5:1
- DEMONSTRATION in a life-related context.
(He modeled truths for the disciples to observe.)
Educational philosophy today relies too heavily on instruction. If Jesus had taught the disciples and had done nothing more, they never would have carried on His legacy. But Jesus shared His life with them. He deliberately gave the disciples His life as an example to watch. He knew they would learn faster if He showed them, not just told them. He taught with His life.
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15
- EXPERIENCE in a life-related context.
(He let the disciples participate and apply truth themselves.)
After Jesus had modeled good leadership and taught spiritual truths, He didn’t turn His men loose and move on. He gradually worked them into positions of independent leadership by giving them valuable experience. Jesus transferred the responsibility He felt for advancing God’s Kingdom to His mentees (disciples). Jesus gave His followers an opportunity to practice what He had taught and to practice leadership. He gave them all ownership for the ministry through delegation and authority.
“And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.” Mark 6:7
- ASSESSMENT in a life-related context.
(He debriefed their shared experience and assessed their growth.)
Jesus repeatedly evaluated the progress of His disciples. After the return of the seventy, He debriefed them, gave them instruction concerning priorities, and celebrated with them (Luke 10:17-24) He also gave individual assessment to His disciple, included specific feedback concerning their character and their capabilities. Once He trusted them with tasks, He knew they would need accountability on their performance.
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
The beautiful part about these principles is that every one of us can apply them. They are transferable concepts, that anyone, in any generation, in any location can practice. If you want to leave a legacy, you must look for people to carry it for you. Find the right people, and use the right preparation process for each of them. Only as you pour yourself into them will they be able to pour out themselves for others. No one can give what he does not have.