Think back to when you first met Jesus. Did someone introduce you? What was it about Jesus that caught your attention? Did you have a friend who answered your questions and offered advice as you continued in this important new relationship?
Did you have a mentor?
WHAT IS A MENTOR?
Mentors are Christ-followers who walk alongside their mentees and set an example of how to love and serve God by living a Christian life. True life transformation in mentees occurs when mentors skillfully and prayerfully utilize the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
And while the word "mentor" is not used in the Bible, the concept is shown repeatedly throughout the Old and New Testaments. Mentoring is a way of raising up mature Christian disciples within the Body of Christ. We see this in the Gospel of Luke's account of Elizabeth and Mary, the mothers of John the Baptist and Jesus.
MOTHER, SISTER, FRIEND
"The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people." (Luke 1:25)
Luke's Gospel begins with the birth of John the Baptist. We meet Elizabeth, the wife of a priest, who miraculously conceives and gives birth to a son.
Elizabeth's faith during her pregnancy is inspiring. She clearly understands that the transformation in her life is an act of God.
Elizabeth may not have spent time in prison, but she understands what it means to live with shame and a social stigma. Because of God's favor, Elizabeth sees potential and purpose in herself … and in her relative, Mary.
WHAT DOES A MENTOR DO?
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" (Luke 1:45)
Mentors go through life with their mentees. Mary, the mother of Jesus, went to stay with Elizabeth during her pregnancy. Elizabeth was able to affirm Mary's faith in God, and we can assume she mentored her during those months they were together.
A mentor encourages their mentee to trust God and His Word as the ultimate, most significant source of wise counsel. God's Word is our spiritual nourishment, and it provides wisdom on every aspect of life. Mary accepted God's will for her life, but Elizabeth was the one who helped her prepare herself for it.
When mentees develop a "spiritual appetite," they become eager for God's Word. Mentors can help by creating an atmosphere that is conducive for the Holy Spirit to do His work.
"Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home." (Luke 1:56)
In a mentoring relationship, the goal is to empower the mentee by building up her faith and dependence on God. It is not meant to enable the mentee by allowing her to become codependent on her mentor.
Mentors are prepared to offer insights and point out alternatives. However, they must do so with the understanding that decisions are to be made by the mentee.
As an unmarried, pregnant woman, Mary would be scrutinized by her community and marked by social stigma. In fact, Matthew 1 explains that God spoke to Joseph and revealed His plan for Mary and him so that Joseph would be able to reconcile with Mary.
These next steps for Mary would be difficult, but Elizabeth could not isolate her from them.
EMPOWERED TO BE BOLD FOR CHANGE
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant." (Luke 1: 46-48)
God sees potential when the world sees disgrace. Mentors prepare believers with the necessary tools they need to follow God's plans for their lives. They empower new believers to mature in their faith so that God can become their source of help. Mentors embolden their mentees for a powerful change in their lives and in the world.