My walk with God started out with what I could describe as a Big-brother/coaching relationship with the brother who reached out to me. He has become a father figure to me; his son’s friends call him, “Gilbert’s younger brother.”
I then had a series of other relationships with brothers older than me in the faith but who became my peers and life-time friends over time.
In the “full time” ministry, this cycle kind of repeated itself as most of those who played the mentoring role have become great friends and even my peers in the Lord.
Many of these have gone from being hierarchical to becoming relationships that thrive on exerting a mutually beneficial, godly influence. My post-full-time ministry years forced me to deliberately go after a number of key relationships with brothers who have formed my circle of spiritual friends today.
Sam Laing’s recent book on “the seven people who help you to heaven” really resonates with my experience in the past decade. I am convinced that no single relationship can satisfy all my needs. I have learned to spread my needs around depending on my friend’s area of strength. Some are visionaries, others truth-tellers (“prophets”), encouragers, advisors, mentors, mentees and soul-mates. A few get to fulfill two or three of those roles and vice-versa. But definitely not six or seven.
By surrounding ourselves with these different types of relationships, we are almost guaranteed a great support system for our spiritual lives.
This works for me. What is your story? What currently works for you when it comes to mentoring? Or do you need help?
*Prov. 11:14; 13:20; 15:22; 24:6; Rom 15:14; Acts 9:26-27; Rom 16:3-15*