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What is your definition of a spiritual mentor/discipler?
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Picture of Sparki2003
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And do you or have you ever had one? What is the purpose of such a person in a new Christian's life? I guess I would like some "definitions" of what a mentor is and generally "does", and what a person being mentored spiritually should be doing.

You see, I heard a lot about them while I was in Houston, and was told that I "should" get one right away once I left the area to return here to Wisconsin. [As if it were something very important to do and have...}

However, whenever I have thought it out, and approached certain ladies around here to become such a thing to me, they act as if they want to "run away" from me, and I do not understand why that would be ... I just celebrated my 4th year in Christ Jesus last month (April), so I figured that since I've never truly had one (face to face), that it might be a good idea to ask, but the older women always seem to either brush me off or basically say "no" in one way or another. This bothers me so much sometimes that it makes me cry, as I know from Scripture that older women are supposed to do this kind of thing. Is there something wrong with me or something that these women have acted this way towards me about this topic ? I guess I would like some opinions about my situation, from Y'all, please ...

Love, in Christ,

Jennifer

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Posts: 1582 | Location: Southern Wisconsin | Registered: March 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh, my sweet Jenn,

What a complicated question. A mentor is generally someone more mature in the faith that helps to disciple or "teach" someone younger or less mature in the faith.

I think several problems arise when we try to find a mentor. There really isn't an ABC structure for what a mentor is/does. Some of the women who desire to "disciple" someone, instead are really more interested in controlling or molding them into "their" version of a Christian woman. Those people scare me.

Many women are so over-extended or over-committed that the mere thought of taking on such a solemn task wears them out. Those are probably the ones that seem to be running away from you.

Then there are those who are mature in the faith but see themselves as inadequate. And, there are those who have given so much to so many, that they desperately long to be mentored, fed, loved on--themselves.

Finally, there are those who say, "Yes."

I think that it is very difficult to find a mentor these days--at least in our nation. People like Beth Moore, are very blessed to have had not one, but two (I think). But I think that even Beth would tell you that the Lord, Himself, has been her greatest teacher.

Some months after I lost my mom, I went for a walk with a friend of mine who had also lost her mama. Coincidentally, she is also a woman more mature in the faith than I--both then, and now. She told me that after her mama died, the Lord sent other women to fill, in part, the roles her mama had played in her life. Not one of them could replace her mother, but the Lord equipped each one to fill a portion of what she had lost.

I think the same applies here. Truth is, times have changed since that when Jesus walked the earth. Folks back then often never left the boundaries of their own community. There was no pony express, no telegraph, no printing press. They had no postal service, or telephones, or--imagine--the internet! Now, we have all sorts of tools available: commentaries, several translations of the Bible, Strong's and Vine's on-line. Bible studies too!

Lives are lived at a faster pace. Whether we desire it or not, there seem to be a greater number of "important things" pulling at us. And so, rather than one "mentor," I believe that the Lord has given us each a primary one: Himself. At the same time, I believe that there is an ebb and flow to life, including learning, and as such, women like us have many mentors--like Beth; like Bayou Blessing; and on and on. There is always someone "ahead" of us, and someone "behind."

Perhaps, for now Sparki, you should press in to formal studies--whether Beth's or Precept studies, etc., and you should reach back--inviting those new to the faith to join you. It might just be that you are called to be someone's mentor for a season. Remember, those whom He calls, He equips. If you are asked to be a mentor, seek His counsel first, and if needed, seek the counsel of someone more mature in the faith to help you decide.

I pray that the Father provide you with many wonderful mentors, and I pray that many of those young in the faith, are strengthened by your own walk.

In His faithful grip,

Teresa
 
Posts: 1436 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: April 07, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sparki,
When I read your post I thought --- Wow, this could only be of God's perfect timing.

My definition of a 'spiritual mentor/discipler' is someone you develop a relationship with who is a believer --yet it is a 'mature' believer; mature in their faith. That doesn't necessarily mean old, but can be older Smile You may recognize these people by the fruits of the Spirit displayed in their own lives, or in developing relationship with them you find it very easy to talk about your faith and they speak freely of theirs. It is the type of believer that you can just feel the love of Christ flow through them to you and others and they strive to 'walk the walk' and diligently seek the Lord and not just 'talk the talk'.

I guess I would distinguish a mentor and discipler like this: A mentor is someone you are very close to personally and you share your faith with and other things; but you share your struggles and questions about what to do and they encourage you to always seek the Lord and what He has to say about it in His word or they share an incident perhaps similiar they went through in the past and what the Lord taught and revealed to them during that time ( that is the transparency). They don't condem, they admit their struggles, battles, and victories In Christ. This person or persons give you wise Godly council that lines up with the Word. A mentor or discipler will often tell you what you need to hear not necessarily what you want to hear - but they speak the truth in love.

Beth Moore is a discipler only on a large scale obviously. Her desire is to share with others what she has learned in her spiritual life and pass it on to other believers and encourage them to diligently seek the Lord and speak Godly wisdom into others' lives. I just imagine she is mentor/discipler to her personal friends big time. I have read how the Believing God study transformed your life and it has mine too and it is because of hearts desire I think to fulfill the great commission and to disciple others.

The Apostles were Christ's disciples: He taught them, spoke truth into their lives, and you know all He did in His ministry on earth... What were they to do after Christ's death and resurrection..."Go ye therefore and make disciples".

I see many of the women on this forum as disciplers' in the way they pray, share their faith, thier testimonies, give godly councel, etc.

Shorty after getting saved I was so blessed to get involved with the ministry I asked prayers for in my other post. Through the years of getting 'counseling" there on a one to one basis (I didn't grasp they were discipling me until years into it Smile) I have been blessed to have 2 mentors and disciplers. They became my discipler's and now I consider them to be my best Godly friends. We really don't spend lots of time together socially as we live in different towns but if I need to talk, have a struggle, need guidance or prayer requests I know we each are there for each other and we trust the Lord to speak through us to each other. They are such encouragers and so different in personalities. One has the gift of Mercy and no longer is in the ministry but she does attend the church I go to. The other woman is like me in lots of ways. She is compassionate yet she is the one who really 'tells me just the way it is' whether I want to hear it or not. She is bold but speaks the truth in love. I think she has the gift of speaking prophesy; to me she has many and it is hard to pinpoint. I love them both and I know they love me and I feel Christ's love overflow to me always.

My personal belief is that if you are a women your discipler / mentor should be also; I believe that is biblical.

I am going to be bold here and tell you why I believe you feel that when you bring up this subject others want to "{run away}" or "{they don't seem to understand what you are talking about}" either. I think it is BOTH literally.

I have found that most believer's are totally clueless about discipling others. Do you know the word disciple is not even in the dictionary?

Well I could go on but I hope I have helped you understand some and hope some of the other ladies jump in and can explain better. By the way take a look at Isaiah 61 I think it directly speaks to this issue.

I am praying that the Lord sends you a personal discipler/mentor.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. I am no expert for sure but I know from my own experience we need the wisdom of mature believer's to disciple us so that later we can do the same for another.

Believing Him,
Deb
 
Posts: 1357 | Location: IL | Registered: March 01, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jennifer I'm so sorry you have gone through this. But then I can imagine that the prospect of mentoring someone would be a frightening thing. But please don't take offense at what you did, you did nothing wrong by asking other women to mentor you. I can only imagine if someone asked me if I would mentor them I would be so dumb struck and I would immediately feel inadequate, but there is no way that I could tell anyone no. I fear God too much!!

Yes the Bible does say that the older women are to teach the younger. Not only in keeping a home, loving your husband, caring for children, but on spiritual things also. How do we expect young Christians like yourself to really know what to do, (ie study God's Word, grow in faith, learn to be Christlike etc..), if someone older in the faith does not takes the time to sit down and teach them.

Please don't think you did anything wrong or that something is wrong with you. Blame lies on the other women that turned away from you. But please don't think to harshly of them either - they may not have been taught themselves and felt inadequate also. Please read Teresa's piece again, she has given you some very wise advice, especially on going to Christ, our Supreme Mentor and the Writer of the Book! And remember you have us. We love you and will help you anyway we can.
 
Posts: 702 | Location: Georgia | Registered: July 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you, Ladies ...

I did have another dear believer friend of mine tell me that "the Lord" was 'being my mentor/discipler' Himself for these first 4 years of my life in Christ.

However, as nice as that is to me, having a human believer in Christ to write to, cry to/with, to learn from, seems as if it might be very nice at this point in my "walk" too . . . Smile

(Even if the Lord did have me "in Bible study with Himself and Beth" via the Internet [Believing God], and a 3 live studes, then via audio tapes or cds through all of her studies except for "The Patriarchs" and the new retreat style one, as well as any that she has done specifically in Houston recently - since June 2004). I think my doing all of these studies (in a totally in-depth kind of way; one after another, just keep me from straying, and also kept me learning from His Word ... I think that it was/is God's way of teaching me what "real" friendship is supposed to "look like", and how special this relationship that I have with Him needs to be = number one, above all others, that is ...

Another friend introduced me to Sheila Walsh's books & book studies, which are much less "in-depth", but are also quite good, as well as some of her music [which I highly recommend].

I must admit, that none of the other studies that I've done, or tried to do, have been as "engaging and exciting" as Beth's studies have been for me, though ...

Love, in Christ,

Jennifer
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: Southern Wisconsin | Registered: March 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good morning Jennifer...I have to just 'ditto' everyone elses comments. I agree with Phyllis that if I were asked to mentor , I would be dumbfounded not b/c of my faith but rather my inadequate nature. And that may be why you were getting the "get away from me stares."

I also thought while reading your comments that maybe God is preparing you to be a mentor one day. Being 4 yrs old in Christ means different things to different people...you may have no more need for milk but are already into the meat of the Word. Therefore you are adequate to mentor ...but if you are called please pray first and long...God will direct.

A key word from you was "Wisconsin"....up north this term, mentoring, may not have gotten there as yet. It way be something you will use to spark interest and connection. God knows how He will use you...stay close to Him.

Joy,Debi
John 15:11
 
Posts: 736 | Location: Nashville, TN | Registered: October 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mentoring or discipling can be very scary for both parties. You've already received some real good answers here.

My own experience with being "mentored" or discipled.

1. The person discipling me asked me what I wanted from the relationship. That was helpful- rather than assuming we both knew what those words meant.

2. Unfortunately, the relationship soon boiled down to a "disciplinary" one, and that brought the relationship to an end. Whether or not I "needed" discipline was irrevelant. The way it was handled (phone calls) instead of face to face was disheartening. Oh well.

So, it's tough. But pray about it. God will surely raise one up for you if that is your heart's desire.
 
Posts: 2413 | Location: Redford, MI, USA | Registered: September 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you have the ability to become involved in the Woman-to-Woman Mentoring program, it can be an invaluable way to not only make new friends within your church family, but also develop a deeper relationship with a mentor.

Sometimes having a little structure for both the mentor and mentee is exactly what you need to get the relationship off on the right foot.

And remember, a mentoring relationship doesn't have to be a formal, sit-down type of thing. I find I get the best support, encouragement, and leadership from women more mature than me in my church family.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the Woman-to-Woman program at my church in Dallas, and I have to say I learned so much from all the women involved in the ministry, in addition to my official "mentoring relationship."

The thing that's helped me more than anything is to pray that the Lord will put people in your path to help guide you. I've also tried to be open to the people I see every day. You just never know where your next meaningful relationship is going to appear.
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Birmingham, AL | Registered: June 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you for your input, Kelly O. I highly doubt that anyone up in this area has ever heard of such a program. Where do the materials come from? It would be a great thing to talk to my pastor's wife about at the end of this week, as she has been trying to get women to gather together since this past October, and break the "cliche" formation, once a month for a thing that she nick-named "Muffins and Mugs". And it seems to be going well, but has been called off for the summer months, at this point in time. I believe that she wants to get these women to the point of starting up mentoring/discipling relationships, and having a special "program" to follow would be great.

By the way, welcome to the Forum!!! Please feel free to come back any time...

Jennifer
 
Posts: 1582 | Location: Southern Wisconsin | Registered: March 14, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Jennifer that particular Women Mentoring book can be found at most Christian Book Stores, mainly at Lifeway Book Stores, and I've seen it at Family Christian Store. But look at your local store and check to see if they can order it. Don't know the publisher, but you can order it online also from Lifeway.
 
Posts: 702 | Location: Georgia | Registered: July 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh P.S. - The "Muffins and Mugs" sounds like a great way to get things going. I'm proud your minister's wife has a heart for this.
 
Posts: 702 | Location: Georgia | Registered: July 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is the link to the Woman to Woman Mentoring resources you discussed.
http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/eshopping_product_page/0%2C%...1&R=775487&dis=block
 
Posts: 46 | Registered: December 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Women run when asked to mentor because they do not feel qualified. The word "mentor" is frightening, it implies a wise ol' sage who has all the answers. Mentoring is more walking through life with someone... and that means making mistakes- but hopefully learning from them!

I am a strong believer in mentoring and have been mentored by a Godly woman for more than 20 years. THe relationship began informally and developed. No one said will you mentor me? or may I mentor you? It just evolved into mentoring.
Now, I mentor 3 young women. Sometimes it begins formally, sometimes informally. It's amazing to see how God blesses when we follow His command in Titus 2!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Posts: 786 | Location: Bossier City, LA, USA | Registered: January 30, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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