Jesus’ Mentoring Model
Read the next statement slowly. Mentoring is learning how to live in relationship with Christ by living in relationship with those who are living in relationship with Christ. “You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord” 1 Thessalonians 1:6. “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” Philippians 3:17.
The Life curriculum is a vital part of a mentoring process. One may use the material as a stand-alone curriculum, but we highly recommend that you explore the possibility of implementing a comprehensive mentoring process.
Our goal for mentoring disciples is simple – we are preparing our mentees to carry on Christ’s message and Kingdom objectives without us. That was Jesus’ goal with His mentees. If they could not carry on after He ascended back to the father, the mission would fail. Everything God wanted to establish on earth would have gone back to heaven with Jesus!
Often, I speak to Christians who do not believe mentoring is necessary. They say that God’s grace is enough. I agree, God’s grace is enough, but it is by God’s grace that He led our Savior to spend three years with twelve men to prepare them to launch His church. Couldn’t Jesus have gone straight to the cross from His baptism? Sure, but that is not the way God chose to conduct His business.
Jesus spend three years, living with twelve men, showing them what it meant to follow Him. From a close look at the Scripture, we find that Jesus employed a five-stage mentoring process to equip His disciples to carry on after He had ascended back to heaven.
Stage #1: Follow me.
When Jesus said, “follow me,” he meant to leave where you are and come, live with me. Take a moment and read Matthew 4:18-22.
These verses tell of how Jesus met with and invited four of the twelve disciples; two sets of brothers, Peter and Andrew, then James and John. Did you notice the invitation? In verse 19 we have it recorded that Jesus said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” In verse 21, we do not have the exact words, but the scripture says that Jesus “called” James and John.
This is a very important point. The men could not go with Jesus and stay where they were. In verse 20, Matthew writes concerning Peter and Andrew, “At once they left their nets and followed him.” In verse 22 the Bible says that James and John, “…immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.”
What I have discovered is that a lot of people want to go with God; they just don’t want to leave where they are and what they are doing. You can’t stay where you are and go with God!
It is also important to note that Jesus didn’t tuck the disciples away and hide them. For three years, the disciples lived and moved with Jesus. They were with Jesus as he led them on a journey in the world. They didn’t live and move in the world, separate from Jesus and visit with Him for a couple of hours a week. Jesus’ invited these men to follow Him which meant, live with Him.
Stage #2: Watch Me.
Take a moment to find Mark chapter four. The disciples observed Jesus as He demonstrated what it looks like when God works through someone. Do not underestimate this point. The disciples walked with Jesus daily and had a front row seat as He taught, performed miracles, and confronted the religious leadership of the day. Mark records such a time in Mark 4:1-9. Take a minute and read that passage.
Step #3: Debrief.
After a day of watching Jesus, He would sit down with His disciples and hold debriefings on what they saw and heard that day. Read Mark 4:10-20. In this special time alone with the disciples, Jesus gave them the inside scoop of the parable he told the crowd that day.
Step #4: Practice runs.
Eventually, Jesus sent the disciples out into the world with specific assignments, they would return and report. Read Luke 10:1-24.
In this passage, Luke gives us a detailed look at a time when Jesus sent out 72 people, two-by-two, into the towns where He was about to go. For this lesson, we are not going to get into everything Jesus told them to do. We are studying Jesus’ methods. However, there is one point that gives us great insight as to why Jesus held the disciples so closely for three years. In Luke 10:3 Jesus said, “Behold! I send you out as lambs among wolves.”
Today, we tend to put the emphasis on what Jesus said in the previous verse. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest…”
A word about sending out teens: I believe we grossly under-estimate the fact that Jesus referred to grown men as “lambs among wolves.” In our efforts to send out workers into the harvest field, all too often, we forget that these “workers” are “lambs” and the “harvest field” is filled with “wolves.” Unfortunately, in youth ministries across America, we are losing far too many lambs and we are not winning many wolves. I hope that if you are leading young people you are paying close attention to the fact that Jesus trained grown men three years before he sent them out on their own!
Step #5: Launch! John 17:6-19
After three years of intense training, of living and moving with Jesus, the disciples were ready to launch out on their own – they had become everything Jesus needed them to be. Jesus could now return to the Father.
What was the result? Just read the book of Acts and beyond!
Jesus started the most successful movement in human history. We preach that we should follow His commands, but what about His methods. How we train is just as important as what we teach.
Can we expect to get similar results from our church programs that Jesus got from living with His disciples? We attend church activities (worship, youth group, etc.) for just a couple hours a week. We believe that a mentoring process is essential for making real disciples.