Mentoring has been a popular topic in culture and business the past few years. With career trajectories and pathways ever changing, it is clear to many that they need help as they navigate our culture and the marketplace. Despite the awareness that something is needed, many do not know exactly what they are looking for. At YBL, we have a vision for what mentoring may be used by God to accomplish in the lives of those who receive it. Our goal is that men would establish genuine connections, to grow in their understanding of God’s world and how that foundation informs their vocation, and to reach maturity, where they can then proceed to help and grow others.
When a protégé meets with a mentor, it is likely they have specific questions. Some sort of felt need has prompted their desire to connect. This is an important opportunity. We all have needs—but often unaware of our real and deeper needs. The questions which you as a mentor receive are important – the protégé cares about these issues and wants your help. Answering those questions can help them significantly in their day to day decisions and actions.
While meeting a person’s felt need is beneficial, wise mentoring does not stop there. As you address those questions, reflect on the contours of the question — and dig deeper.
Consider Jesus. He rarely ever answered a question in the way it was formulated. For example, the Sadducees, who did not believe in a resurrection of the body, asked him a mocking hypothetical question about a woman who married 7 brothers (who all proceeded to die) in succession. They supposed this created a conundrum if there was a resurrection. They asked Jesus, ‘Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.’ (Matthew 22:28-33)
Jesus did answer their question—He said it was misguided, because people will neither marry nor be given in marriage in heaven. However, Jesus does not stop there. Knowing that the Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection, He uses this question as an opportunity to dig deeper with them. He quotes them from Exodus, one of the five books of Moses. These were the only books which the Sadducees believed had actual inspired authority. From the books they respect, He proves the resurrection. Jesus engages the question, but He also sees the question as merely a starting place to address their underlying need.
Jesus did not do this to be mysterious or elusive or give politically correct answers. Jesus did this because our questions often indicate our previous assumptions. As a result, often questions are based on incorrect assumptions. Those faulty preconceptions need to be addressed first, or it is like putting a good roof on top of rotting walls. As we serve our protégés, we want to pray for God to give us insight in this process, to see what the deeper issues are that may need to be engaged. As you identify those issues, our prayer is that God will grant and cause growth. Growth in their life and growth in the relationship, and connection you have.
As you continue to meet, that cumulative growth and health may, God willing, lead to a point of maturity, where the relationship you have ceases to be primarily mentor-protégé and becomes more of a wise older brother and a peer. They in turn now are more equipped to mentor others. As 2 Timothy 2:2 says, ‘The things which you learned from me, entrust to faithful men, who will in turn teach others.’
Multiplying wisdom. Growing leaders who build leaders. That is the hope and the goal for YBL mentoring. I pray God will continue to do this for you and through you, also.