I am rich. I grew up in a Christian home with two parents who loved each other. They taught me about God and hashed out spiritual issues with me. God led me to a husband who had been raised in a similar way. We raised two daughters. When it came to parenting, we naturally knew what to do about many things, because we had watched our own parents.
Of course. That’s normal and natural. But what about people who grow up without the advantage of Christian parents or godly examples? When they become Christians, they may struggle with issues that rich people like me find easy.
About twenty five years ago some men in one church realized their need for spiritual mentors. They came from unsaved backgrounds and struggled to meet many of life’s difficulties. So they asked some older men in their church to mentor them. They wanted to be Christian husbands and fathers, but didn’t have role models to help them. Sadly, the men who were more mature in the faith turned down this great opportunity. They decided that no one had helped them, so they would let these younger men figure things out for themselves.
Many parents could greatly benefit from a Christian mentor who would help them understand what good parenting involves. Should I spank or not? What do I do when time-outs don’t work? Do I have a right to tell my children what to do? What if my child doesn’t want to go to church?
I am rich in other ways. My husband and I have served on two different mission fields. We studied different languages and cultures up close and personal. We experienced victories and defeats and moved past them. We learned about missions first hand and by talking to fellow missionaries. We don’t know all the answers, but at least we know many of the questions. God didn’t allow us to learn all this just for ourselves. He expects us to share what we’ve learned.
Missionary apprenticeship programs have given us opportunities to mentor a number of young people considering missions for their future. Church ministry allows us to draw from our experiences to help families in crisis. We share Scripture and our perspective and help people see things from a different angle. I want to use this blog to share ideas about ministry as well.
I am rich in ideas. God has given me the kind of mind that sees a problem and immediately dreams of ways to fix it. The need for programs and stories and crafts creates all kinds of ideas in my mind. Sometimes I can hardly switch the ideas off. When I see people who struggle to think of ideas I know I am rich.
Ideas are crucial for a writer, but I probably wouldn’t be writing for publication today without the help of a couple of mentors who showed me the first steps.
Mr. Clarence Townsend, my English teacher at Faith Baptist Bible College taught me how to submit my first manuscript to Regular Baptist Press. Gladys Doonan encouraged me too. Thirty-five years later I continue to write articles, programs, and books for Christian publication. But without Mr Townsend and the late Mrs. Doonan I probably wouldn’t be writing for publication today.
In recent years I have sensed that the Lord wants me to do more to mentor conservative Christian writers into writing for Christian publication. I am a full-time missionary and I work actively at freelance writing. I can’t personally critique many articles and explain what needs to be changed, but I can point to resources to get you started. I offer many writing articles that will help you write for publication. Once a month I write a blog especially for writers. If you have a writing question, you are welcome to leave it in the comment box so that I can address it in upcoming blogs.
This year I plan to chronicle my path to self-publication of a true story which I hope to launch in September 2013. In that way I hope to use my experience to help beginning writers.
God doesn’t provide us with life experiences to grasp selfishly, learning from them but refusing to share the knowledge. What unique experiences has God given you? Will you share what you’ve learned from them? Or will you be like the men in the beginning of this article who felt too intimidated to open themselves to the scrutiny of others?
Mentoring can sound scary. “Who am I to tell someone else how to live?” you ask. “I don’t have all the answers. What if I steer them the wrong direction? If they search my life too closely they’ll see my faults. These young guys are so computer savvy they make me feel like a dinosaur.”
In the New Testament we get a glimpse of Timothy, a young and timid pastor. Perhaps a false form of humility prevented him from displaying his abilities. But Paul urged him not to neglect the gift that was in him or hesitate because of his youth. Paul encouraged him to be an example to others in every way, to mentor the people under him.
Mentoring doesn’t set you up as a perfect authority figure who straightens everyone out. It doesn’t mean you know all the answers or that you don’t make mistakes. It just means you are willing to share your experiences and perspective with others in a transparent relationship.
Ask the Lord to lead you to people who you can help. Then wait for Him to work through you in new and exciting ways.
Coming next week: 5 Ways to Mentor