So far my time in Poland and Czech is teaching me one thing: mentoring is something that pastors are absolutely in need of in order to minister and reach out to the men in their churches. This seems so basic doesn’t it? Yes, but the implications are profound. Think about it. How many pastors ARE mentoring men in their church? I am not sure but I suspect that there is not an overwhelming number. The Polish and Czech pastors are saying we need to be mentored because, for many of us, we are first generation Christians and do not have those spiritual fathers that could help us to know how to do what might have been done for us through our fathers, grandfathers, or other key men we might have come to know through our church family.
Makes me wonder about those of us who have spiritual fathers or who have had spiritual mentors in our lives. Why are we not mentoring others? Why don’t we think more seriously about our role in passing on to the next generation what we have come to know and experience in our Christian faith and walk? I am just feeling that we, who call ourselves men of God, need to take much more seriously our responsibility to pass our faith on to that next generation.
The Polish and Czech pastors are telling us something: In order for their churches to grow, they, themselves, need to be challenged in their own growth and spiritual formation. I think that goes for us who have a heritage of the Christian family. Talk to your dads, those of you who have Christian fathers. Find other Christian men in your life older than you so that you can hear their stories and be challenged by them. Someday, you will have the privilege of telling your life story by what you heard, what you learn in life and come to sense is the work of God in all that you are about.
Mentoring is not for the professional. Mentoring is for any man. We need to seek out our St. Paul’s and we need to find our Timothy’s and that… is generational Christianity at its best. It is how the church in the first, second and third centuries grew and expanded.
So as I continue to listen to pastors this week, I pray that I, too, will continue to know my need of being mentored by men older than me, and continue to pick up the mantel of mentoring to those younger. This is how God grows the church. Much, by the way, could be said about women mentoring women, but right now I am concerned about men because, as a man, I feel the great need to continue to learn how to be a faithful mentor of others, while others, older than me, continue to believe that I am important enough to have someone speaking into my life.
Just a thought!