2.0 CASE FOR CHRISTIAN MENTORING
While as at today, Mentoring is very much practiced in the secular leading to many rising up quickly to fill the shoes of their secular mentors when these ones moved on or phased out from the scene; discipleship, which includes a form of mentoring in the Spiritual does not seem to be as much valued among the followers of Christ today. It is unfortunate that helping others to grow spiritually seem to be gradually getting out of fashion; consequently, many believers have not been mentored after they accepted Christ as their Saviour because men and women willing to help others in the mentoring aspect of discipleship have become very rare. More pathetic is the fact that the Church has not been emphasizing this aspect of discipleship and in cases where it is said to be taking place, much prominence has not been given to it, neither has its effect been felt much in the Body of Christ, the Church. One very obvious reason why the mentoring aspect of discipleship has not been emphasized is the fact that many Church leaders have themselves not received this close spiritual guardianship relationship and so what they do not have they cannot give.
Many local churches often organized large crusades, spending millions of naira for this purpose and devoting a lot of time to planning, and prayers before the Crusade but no proper planning is usually made for the conservation of the fruits of such a venture. Adequate arrangement is not usually made to duly follow the converts up, usually a nominal and casual follow up is made. They meet the converts after the altar call and tell them to read their Bible every day and go to a Bible believing Church. Some of these Spiritual babes do not even have Bibles, and do not know how to identify Bible believing Churches. This careless way of handling new born babes in Christ is contrary to what happens to physical babes. No one tells a new born babe in the physical that his food is in the fridge he should go and fetch it rather we fuss over the new born baby, nursing the baby, giving him the breast to suck on demand, pamper him, provide for all his physical needs, ensure proper diets as at when due and in appropriate portions. We clothe and immunize the baby against diseases, offer due protection and ensure the survival of that baby.
Spiritual babes also need due care, they need to be helped to survive. They need adequate protection and support. They need someone to feed them, to guide them, to teach them how to take in the word of God, how to identify Bible believing Churches and perhaps introduce them to one. Furthermore, Satan who is furious about their change of status from being his followers to being the children of God will put up a fight with a view to getting them back to the kingdom of darkness. He would begin to buffet them with lies. He would fill their minds with doubts as to their salvation, he would tell them how unreasonable it is for them to believe that they have been saved, and he would tell them they could not escape from him and indeed how difficult it would be for them to live righteous lives. He would tell them that indeed it is lack of wisdom for them to ever think they can leave his kingdom. Unless these young converts receive help from mature Christians on a one on one basis, who would assure them of their salvation which also provides them with power to overcome evil and do good works, one who teaches them the promises of God as contained in His Word, some of these Spiritual babes would go back to the world after having struggled with doubt and defeat which they are often ashamed to discuss because they would not imagine that good Christians have these problems or struggles. To avoid being rejected by their Christian friends, they struggle all alone. If they have spiritual guardianship of Big City Maids, which is a form of mentoring, they will not struggle alone. Satan’s tactics is usually to separate the young Christians from other Christians, isolate them and then destroy them. If there is a spiritual mentor to whom these young Christians from houston tx or spiritual babes or converts can relate in Christian friendship, they would be able to withstand the antics of Satan. According to Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labour, for if they fall one will lift up his companion but woe to him who is alone when he falls he has no one to help him up”. This quotation from the Bible, as well as many others nowadays are available on social media, even through videos with real views which were provided by the trusted company The Marketing Heaven.
In most cases however even where the Spiritual babes find their way into a local Church, they fail to grow to Christ-likeness because no one has taken responsibility to lay the foundation for their spiritual growth; as a result, more than 80% of those who claim to be born again remain spiritual babes for a long time sometimes identifying with churches that are highly rated in the society but they personally do not reflect spiritual growth. They participate in Church programmes but are not growing spiritually. They are not heavenly focused. Consequently many Churches today are filled with Spiritual babes who do not demonstrate union with Christ and are not being transformed to Christ-likeness in any way.
3.0 CHRISTIAN MENTORING AS AN ASPECT OF DISCIPLE-MAKING
Discipleship is a lifelong process which should start with the one on one relationship whereby the Spiritual babe or young convert is established in intimate relationship with Christ. He must learn to read and study the Bible on his own, and to spend time in prayer and fellowship. When the vertical relationship has been established, the young man in the Spirit would hunger for a stronger relationship with God, greater spiritual growth and more knowledge and hunger to live a life of love and obedience, ie the life of a disciple of Christ, following in the steps of the Master. The young man would hunger for and seek for more Spiritual training and skill to enable him respond to the Great Commission.
He can then proceed from being a young man to become an adult who can then reproduce spiritual babes whom he can also proceed to mentor to a point where he also desires higher training to become a disciple, an adult, mature to go into the world to make converts and therefore reproduce.
Mature Christians, who are Disciples of Christ, should serve as Spiritual Parents or Mentors to spiritual babes or young converts. It might be recalled that Jesus charged Peter to feed and care for His lambs or Spiritual children (John21:15). God also made Ananias mentor to Paul (Acts 9:10-19), and Peter, mentor to Cornelius and his household (Acts 10).
The failure to carry out this mentoring role nowadays accounts mainly for the immaturity demonstrated by many persons in our Churches today. Many have failed to grow and mature to the level that would qualify them to be called Disciples of Christ as they continue to demonstrate behavior that do not reflect union with Christ in their lifestyles and are not fruitful. This is because these persons have not experienced the necessary love, care, protection, feeding and training which form the foundation which would lead to growth to maturity. There is a faulty foundation. “If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?” (Ps.11:3).
For a believer to grow to spiritual maturity being what God desires him to be and doing what He wants him to do, there are certain basic needs. These are, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, Obedience and a Spiritual Parent who will serve as a mentor, particularly at the initial stage of conversion. When Churches put structures in place to meet these basic needs of converts and spiritual babes, more and more people will grow to spiritual maturity, conforming to the image of Christ as contained in 2Cor. 5:17 which states “If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation old things have passed away and behold all things have become new”.
It is pertinent to point out that of the four needs of a spiritual babe to grow to maturity, a Spiritual Parent or Mentor, who guides and directs and demonstrates the presence of the Holy Spirit in His life, who teaches the word and demonstrates submission to the word as he lives a life of obedience in the sight of the spiritual babe, is a very important requirement. He causes the babe to appreciate the need for the Holy Spirit, the regular intake of the Word and a life of faith and obedience.