Learning effective techniques from experienced
Helping others develop their on mission
Extending your reach.
My life was about to change. I was a university studentpagan and cynical
about those weak Christians I saw around me who needed a crutch. But a
businessman didnt let that stop him. He reached out to me.
Jack was smart enough to invite me to his home one night, away from my peers
and family. That evening, in his living room, he explained the way of salvation
I argued. But Jack didnt argue back. He listened, then turned to scripture
and said, Look at what God says. Each time I threw him one of my arguments he
would again turn to the Bible. That night my opposition faltered; then about
eleven oclock it disappeared altogether. I became a believer.
Something else was happening
But Jack did more than bring me to saving faith; he modeled to me the way to
let Gods Spirit work through the use of scripture. He taught me that answering
an argument at best can only win the argument. Winning an argument doesnt bring
a person to Christ.
In the months that followed, mentored by Jack, I learned the scriptures that
he used, firmed up what it was I had done that night in his home and in time I
made my own feeble attempts at giving a witness, first to my family and then to
others. And, in spite of my stumbling and faltering, God brought each member of
my family to Himself.
1. Look for men and women whom God may be calling right now to the
on mission lifestyle. Come alongside them and help provide direction and
2. Do not be limited by what worked before. Continually look for new
ways to be on mission yourselfso you are ready to be a mentor with new,
cutting-edge ideas to share.
3. Sharpen your mentoring skills by reading books and taking
seminars that deal with this subject.
4. Take a mission trip and find one or two people in that city with
whom you can be a long-distance mentor. You will be building leaders who can
lead others to Christ in their own hometown. This is especially beneficial for
Christians living in largely unchurched areas of Canada and NAMBs strategic
focus cities such as Boston, Las Vegas, Seattle and Miami.
5. If you find someone who has become discouraged in their walk with
Christ, make an effort to encourage them and build them back up. Teach them
that a lifestyle of personal evangelism is the next step in their Christian
walk. This may be just the challenge they need to get out of their
6. Look for opportunities at your church that would put you in touch
with new and growing Christians. Volunteer to start a Bible study, lead a
Sunday school class, chaperone a youth mission trip or facilitate an evangelism
seminar. You will develop relationships through these activities that can lead
to true mentoring opportunities. Hebrews 6:1 instructs us to help someone to
leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.
7. Take advantage of technological changes. Who are the university
students you can mentor via email? Which of the international students who
attended your church are now back in their home country but will welcome your
email correspondence, encouragement and teaching?
8. Pay attention to your own life. Be aware that as a role model you
are being observed by others whether or not you have entered into a formalized
mentoring relationship. What you reveal by your actionsyour own faithfulness in
sharing Christwill go a long way toward laying the groundwork for this mature
relationship with another person.
What is an on mission mentor?What does it mean to be
a mentor? Did Jack know that he began mentoring me that night when he was
pointing out to me the way of salvation? Did he even think that he was also
teaching me how to win others to Christ? Today most of us know that as on
mission Christians we are not just doing, we are teaching.
And what do we teach when we mentor as part of our on mission lifestyles?
Have changing times and cultural shifts made a difference in what we do,
especially with todays generations who may not necessarily be persuaded by
someone saying, Lets look at what God says in the Bible?
We dont win souls, of course; no one does. We win people who have souls. The
Holy Spirit is the soul winner, not us.
We are merely the ones who are given the privilege of helping a person grow
on his or her spiritual journey, starting from wherever individuals happen to
be and taking them to the next step.
As on mission Christians, we may be the ones to bring the person to the
point of saying yes to Christ. Once we have led someone to Christ, we need to
establish with him that he is starting a lifestyle that calls him to share
Christ with others. If we teach others to be on mission themselves, we can
start a ripple effect that can reach throughout North America.
It starts when they are with youWhen Jesus chose the
12, it was His intention to send them out as what we call on mission people.
But first, before the sending, we see in scripture the word with. He chose them
to be with Him (see Mark 3:14).
Look for people around you whom you can help. Listen to them. See where God
is already working in their lives so you can build a bridge from where they are
to where God is calling them to be. Then show them how to be disciples and live
out their faith day by day. It starts when they are with you. Follow the
example of Jesus.
There are many ways that we can be with someone in their Christian walk. It
may be as simple as setting aside some time each week to get together and pray
for the specific needs of that person and pray that God would open up
opportunities to share the gospel. Or you might want to spend time with them in
an on mission Bible study. It could include participating in social or
recreational activities with unsaved friendsgreat ways to show your mentoring
partner how to introduce Christ in a casual setting.
Being with someone doesnt have to be face to face. You will find that there
are different ways to spend time with someone as part of the mentoring process.
You can even use the telephone or Internet to be with the person you are
mentoring. This is especially effective when mentoring someone long
Mentoring is the rewarding process of taking under your wings someone who is
searching, providing answers, helping them grow more open to the gospel,
leading them to faith in Christ and, ultimately, training them to actively
share the gospel with others. For whether we are doing this online or over the
telephone or in person, the process is esentially the same: investing time in
listening, being transparent, sharing, coaching, role modelingallowing them to
learn from your life.
I recently had the opportunity to get into
the life of a guy at church named David. I learned that as a mentor I must have
a passion for God. If your disciple doesnt see in you a genuine interest in
sharing Christ, good luck trying to show him or her how to be on mission.
Furthermore, if you arent willing to put some time into your disciple, its not
worth it. You have to be ready to invest time in someones life if you really
want to see God work in him.
Josh Perkins is a student at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky, and
webmaster for The Daily Bread, an online devotional service. He is the youth
ministry intern at Valley View Baptist Church.
For many years, I was a typical, quiet
Christian. That changed as I was mentored by a godly pastor with a passion for
evangelism. He has influenced me to orient my life around on mission
opportunities in my neighborhood, community and workplace. My husband and I
found it pretty easy to reach out to our neighbors, but it was more difficult
to do so at work.
My mentor encouraged me to become more intentional in my witness through my
practice, so I prepared a letter for my patients in which I share the
importance of my faith and how they can know Christ personally. Five years ago,
we also began a lunchtime Bible study for employees. As a result of the Bible
study, prayer and many years of consistent, personal witness, Denise, one of my
employees, has come to know Christ and is now involved in mission trips and
sharing her faith with others. And it all started with an on mission
Dr. Cathy Morris is an internist in Canton, Georgia, and a Sunday school
teacher at Canton First Baptist Church.
Since I became a Christian, Ive had a burden to reach
people for Christ. When I had the opportunity to become a pastor, I began to
mentor young men to start churches. I knew our church wasnt going to reach
everybody; I wanted to place young men and families where they could serve the
Lord. One of my primary callings is to train and nurture young pastors and
laypeople who feel called to church planting. So far, we have six new churches
that have been established in the last six years.
Don Conley is a church planting missionary in San Diego,
For many years, I was mentored by one of the most on
mission Christians I have ever met. Lonnie is a very outgoing and personable
kind of guy, the type who never meets a stranger. He encouraged me to really
get into the Word and memorize scripture. He also taught me how to look at the
world and see the needs that were right in my own backyard. He would take me
around town to areas where there were obvious needs and say this is your
mission field. Although he has since moved away, the impression that he made on
my spiritual life is indelible. He inspired me to grow in my faith and to share
Travis Thompson is a social studies teacher in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He
is involved in the youth ministry at First Baptist Church, Tullahoma.
During my college years I was mentored by
a guy named Greg Pitts. He taught me to walk with God, study my Bible, share my
faith and reach out and lead others. He developed an eternal perspective within
me. Because of his leadership I have devoted my life to that same purpose. I
was able to mentor a guy named Andy in the same way that Greg mentored me. When
I met Andy, he was in college and not walking with God. However, God stepped in
and changed his life. Currently, Andy and his wife are serving God in southeast
Paul Hilliard works with students at Eastern Kentucky University in
Richmond, Kentucky, through Campus Crusade for Christ. Paul and his wife attend
First Baptist Church, Richmond.
I went to church with a lady who had a tremendous
influence on my life. She was a wonderful example of how to be a godly mom,
wife and career woman. She modeled for me how to be a witness to my children,
my husband and with others around me.
She also encouraged me to get involved in Bible study and activities at
church. Her excitement about God was contagious. I am more on mission because
of her role in my life.
Robin Womack is a homemaker and is involved in the childrens ministry at
First Baptist Church, Justin, Texas.
Ive learned that mentoring involves both the
spiritual life and the skills needed to reach others. For me, the key is
building relationshipsbeing a friend, listening, modeling. I try to model both
the character and the particular skills needed by the person I am mentoring.
The best way Ive found to encourage others to be on mission is to be on mission
myself. I recently took a team on a trip to Cuba and asked other area churches
to pray for us and participate with us. Because others went with us and told
the story themselves with a lot of excitement, several of our area churches are
now planning their own mission trips. They now believe they can do it
Victor Ketchens is a church planting strategist in the New York City
Theres no limit to the waysThere are many ways to be
mentors, including taking another person with us as we go out to do evangelism.
In that model, we are coaching another believer on how to share their faith,
how to adopt and live out a lifestyle of personal evangelism. We do it
ourselves; we advocate it for them.
But thats not the only way. We are mentors at work, mentors in the way we
live in our communities, mentors when we volunteer for civic or political
Our opportunity to be on mission mentors may come by having someone live
with us in our home for a while. My wife, Andrea, and I once hosted a released
prisoner in our home. I had brought him along to faith while he was in prison.
Then we moved to another state.
But one day, not having anywhere else to go after he was released and
wanting to continue our relationship, he showed up at our doorstep, and we took
him in. Our children enjoyed his company. After we found him a job, then helped
him move into his own apartment, he no longer needed us. He married and moved
away, ready to be a faithful, on mission Christian in a new community. But for
that time he was part of our familywatching, observing, asking questions.
We are all mentors, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or without
awareness. We mentor our children. They watch us and learn by doing what we do.
They learn prayer and worship and Bible reading. They also learn our
attitudesour concern for others or our lack of concern. They decide to be like
us. Or, they decide to not be like us. Parents ache over that.
Jesus is our mentoring example. He took His disciples with Him; they watched
what He did. The 72 He sent out reported back; there was accountability, as
there is in every good mentoring situation (see Luke 10).
God wants us to be learners and mentorsWe know about
the mentoring of Moses by Jethro, of Joshua by Moses, of Elisha by Elijah. We
study the relationship between Barnabas and Paul, Paul and Timothy. It is
obvious that God intended for us to be both learners and mentors.
Sometimes the mentoring is structured and plannedintentional mentoring
between a teacher and a new disciple. More often, it isnt even noticed by us
any more than other people are aware when we are watching and learning from
Because the on mission lifestyle is intentional and deliberate, we must plan
how we mentor another to be evangelistic. Some suggestions:
Visiting people in the hospital is not always the most comfortable
situation, and a new Christian might feel awkward talking to an
unbeliever who is ill. Take the person you are mentoring with you when you make
these kinds of visits. He will learn how to be loving and sensitive by watching
how you handle a particular situation. Allow him to take the role of observer
as you share Christ with compassion.
Another type of situation where a new Christian might feel uncomfortable is
witnessing to strangers during church visitation. Since its usually best to go
into these situations in pairs, invite the one youre mentoring to visit
families with you. Show him how to turn a conversation toward spiritual
matters. Show him by example how to share scriptures with the nonbeliever and
how to pray for specific needs that come up in your conversation.
Its also a good idea to teach a new Christian how to prepare for
evangelistic opportunities through prayer and Bible study. Point out that
sharing Christ is a part of the Christian lifestyle for laypeople as well as
trained folks like ministers, missionaries and evangelists.
Encourage the person you are mentoring to find a style of sharing that
naturally fits his or her personality. Assure the person you are mentoring that
sharing Christ will become easier with practice, and they will learn to make
adjustments in approach, style and method. And remember that new Christians can
learn a lot by observing their mentors, but let them take a practice swing
every once in awhile.
Recently I watched a Christian man I know. Although hes retired, he
volunteers as a driver for people who need to visit the doctor. As I sat in the
doctors office waiting for my own appointment, I watched him bring in a man in
a wheel chair. This Christian showed such tenderness; he seemed to sense the
worry, the concern, of the patient who could not help himself or even fill out
forms at the counter. The help he gave said to me this man loves people. He was
laying the groundwork for a verbal witness.
I dont know if he eventually mentored that patient. I do know this, as I sat
there watching, he mentored me.
The power of encouragementAs a growing Christian who
was trying to be on mission by sharing my faith with family and friends, the
pastor was my mentor from the pulpit, but his wife was my mentor after
church. She knew that I had a burden for my family, and every Sunday she
would meet me in the aisle and ask how things were going with them. She
encouraged me not to give up on sharing Christ with them, and she prayed for me
as I stepped outside of my comfort zone. She encouraged me to stay on mission,
first with my unbelieving family and then with others in my sphere of
I cannot begin to express how much that meant to me. She gave me the boost
that I needed to continue looking for opportunities to share Christ with those
Hebrews 10:25, says, Let us encourage one another. Who is encouraging me? Am
I currently mentoring someone else to stay on mission?
When 10,000 evangelists met together at Amsterdam 2000, one of the
speakers was Steve Saint, son of martyred missionary Nate Saint. He had with
him two of the men who killed his dad, now Christian men and leaders in the
Waodani Church. They are growing in the faith and have been bold to come to
Steve saying, You showing us, we will do it. Thats mentoring. Steve has the
privilege of showing; they have the privilege of doing.
One of the Waodani men tells his story: I used to live badly, badly,
my heart being dark and sick with sin. But then, seeing Gods carvings, His Holy
Spirit came and with Jesus blood dripping and dripping, He washed my heart as
clean as the sky when it has no clouds in it. Now, clearly seeing Gods trail
and following it, Im going to come to Gods house. Thats his testimony, and
Steve, as a mentor, has shown him how his testimony can reach others among the
In ever-widening circlesOne evening my phone rang.
The person on the other end of the line said, Im a voice from your past. You
might not remember, but you led me to Christ 35 years ago. I did not remember,
although as we talked and I mulled his name around in my mind and he reminded
me of the circumstances, it began to come back to me.
But he had more to say: Im the chair of the evangelism committee at our
church. We are seeking to bring people to faith in Christ. I learned from you
how to do it and Im teaching others on the committee.
Then I realized what had happened. He didnt learn from me, he learned from
Jack. I was just the person in between. I realized a truth about mentoring: it
expands in ever- widening circles.
Questions to ask myself as a mentor
1. Since the most valuable thing I have to give another Christian is my
time, am I willing to give that? Will I welcome another into my life, to
experience with me my struggles, my sorrows, my joys and to see how God is
working in my life?
2. Am I looking around me for whomever God may be sending into my life
because I am to mentor that person or because that person is to be a mentor to
3. As a mentor am I a disciple, continuing to prepare myself, stretching,
growing, so that I can be of more help to those not-yet-Christians who need to
meet the Savior or lead new believers to be on mission?
4. Am I confident enough in who I am in Christ that I dont need to keep
someone dependent upon me, but am willing to help the one Im mentoring get
ready to leave the nest?
5. Am I able to move into a coaching role, able to step back, encourage from
the sidelines and instruct as needed? Instead of always being the answer
person, am I showing how this other person can discover answers for himself or
6. Am I easing away from my earlier role of teacher, then coach, into more
of a partnership willing to learn from the one who at first was more dependent
7. Am I helping those I once mentored to become mentors themselves, even
introducing seekers or new believers to them rather than taking these others on
myself? Can I let go so that they can have the fulfilling work of mentoring
Roger Palms is the former editor of Decision magazine with the
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the author of 15
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