4.0 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHRISTIAN MENTOR
- He is a trained Disciple of Christ, one who has the written Word and the Incarnate Word, ie Jesus Christ as His Standard and he is following Him. He is abiding in Christ;
- He endeavours to please God always by his lifestyle of faith, submission and obedience to the Word of God;
- He acknowledges the fact that everyone who serves Jesus in righteousness and holiness cannot escape suffering and he is prepared for a life of sacrifice;
- He is prepared, like Jesus did with His disciples, to spend time with the mentee or would be disciple;
- He knows and loves the Lord through spending much time in the Scriptures;
- He is filled with the Holy Spirit;
- He is an ardent intercessor, always interceding for the mentee;
- He appreciates that he is on assignment and the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is watching him as he does it;
- He is conscious of the fact that his mentee is watching him all the time;
- He appreciates that he would give an account to God on this onerous responsibility, he therefore cannot handle the assignment lightly as the result could be spiritual death of souls very much cherished by God and for whom Christ died;
- He is prepared to spend and be spent for the benefit of his spiritual babe. Sometimes he might have to spend his treasure and time for the well being of the mentee.
5.0 THE WORK OF THE CHRISTIAN MENTOR
The work of the Christian mentor is indeed very important to the survival of the spiritual babe. As soon as a person comes into faith, he needs this loving guardianship. He needs this Mentor who is a foundation builder; as earlier mentioned “If the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3).
The Christian Mentor has responsibility for ensuring that the young believer takes in a proper diet. Indeed, according to Peter in 1 Peter 2:2, new born babes in Christ should desire the pure milk of the word of God that they may grow thereby. The baby must take in or eat simple food in small portions; he must eat frequently, simple foods from the word of God. The Spiritual parent /Christian Mentors must show them how to read and study the Bible for themselves, thereby; they are able to eat daily and not only once or twice a week in Church. This becomes even more necessary in cities where it is difficult for people to assemble in Church fellowships during the week in the light of environmental circumstances.
Christian Mentors will ensure that the spiritual Babes do not eat only the pleasant part of Scripture. They must learn not only about God’s love and grace but also about His Lordship and fatherly discipline. It is the responsibility of spiritual mentors to nurture the spiritual children with a balanced diet of spiritual food and activities making sure that these children hear the word of God, read it, study it, memorize, meditate on it and apply it to their lives. The Spiritual Parent/ Christian Mentor has the responsibility to ensure that the young Christian continues to fellowship in an atmosphere of love and acceptance in a Church environment or family, where love and obedience to God’s command holds sway.
It is also the responsibility of the Mentors to teach the young believers exactly what God expects from them because He is now their sovereign Lord (Matthew 28:20). The spiritual parents will take the young Christians through careful teaching, training as well as responsive guardianship to responsible behaviour.
They will teach the Spiritual children that they are accountable to God for the things they do and this fact should be made clear to the young Christians. They need to know that the record of their thoughts and actions are being kept in heaven and they must be made to appreciate that God cannot be deceived and whatsoever a man sows he shall reap (Galatians 6:7).
Spiritual Parents/ Christian Mentors are expected to teach young Christians to have a personal relationship with Christ. They must teach them how to spend some time daily with God in prayer and fellowship. In helping a person to get started in devotional life, the spiritual mentor should have a quiet time with the Spiritual babe or convert for several days so as to show him how to observe a quiet time with God. The mentor is also expected to teach the young Christian how to hide God’s word in his heart because when he does so, none of his steps shall slide (Psalm 37:31).
The mentor must involve the young believing Christian in a Bible believing church fellowship and teach him the importance of not forsaking the assembly of God’s people (Hebrews 10:25).
He must teach and encourage the Spiritual babe to grow in faith, believing that indeed he is saved (1John 5: 12-13), and that he cannot be dominated by sin, that he therefore can live a life of victory over sin (1Cor.10:13). He needs to assure the Spiritual babe that God would hear and answer his prayer (John 16:24) and that God desires him to pray to Him and that if ever he falls into sin, if he confesses his sin, God will forgive him his trespasses (1John1:9), also that he should trust God for Godly guidance to righteous living (Prov. 3:5-6).
The Mentor will teach the Spiritual Babe how to pray effectual prayer.
He will also teach him How to take in the word of God through hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating in the Word of God and applying it to his life.
The Mentor will teach the spiritual babe how to worship God, the importance of loving his yet to be saved neighbour and evangelizing him.
The importance of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer would also be emphasized to the spiritual babe by the Mentor. The need for him to grow and the work of the Holy Spirit to this process would be specified by the Mentor to the spiritual babe.
The Mentor will also teach righteous living to his spiritual mentee/babe, in words and through his example of exemplary life style of righteous living and holiness
6.0 EXPECTATION FROM SPIRITUAL MENTORS
-Purpose of training must be to build up the young convert to Christ-likeness.
-Christian Mentors must be established in God’s word and be prepared to answer questions plaguing the mind of the Spiritual Babes.
They must also be
- have evangelistic disposition,
- Persuasive, rather than Directive,
- Focused on building relationships,
- Make training delightful.
The importance of Christian Mentoring/ Spiritual Parenting as the foundation aspect of discipleship cannot be over-emphasized if the Church is to grow into the beautiful bride that Jesus is coming to take at the end of time. The growth in holiness and righteousness as the second –coming of Christ draws near needs to be given much focus in the Church and this can only be a reality when the foundation of Christians are strengthened. The profile of the Church today whereby many remain Spiritual babes is a pointer to the fact that mature Christians are not alive or awake to their responsibility of helping others to grow. It is time for the Church to arise and shine the Light of Christ. The whole world is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God Romans (Romans 8:19). Those of us here present who are privileged to know Christ and to have grown to maturity must arise to our responsibility to carry out Parenting/ Mentoring work on spiritual babes and new converts in our Churches.
My brethren I invite you to bear fruit and conserve them though volunteering to be trained to serve the Body of Christ, the Church as a Spiritual Parent or Mentor to converts/ Spiritual babes in the Church and thereby fulfill the call of God on your life. Remember that Jesus chose you and ordained you to bear fruit and that the fruit should abide.