Who was the first mentor in the Bible? Answer: God. Yeah, the Sunday school answer would have won the contest. It’s true. If there was ever a mentor that we should model, it would be God. And the very first discipleship process is found in the Garden of Eden. So how was God a mentor to Adam, and what did He do in the discipleship process?
1. Spiritual Guidance – Genesis 2:16-17
It didn’t take long for Adam to receive spiritual guidance from his mentor. They are pretty clear instructions – don’t eat from this tree. Let that be a lesson to you in your discipleship process. Be clear in your spiritual guidance, and help those you are mentoring to not make the common adolescent mistakes. Impart wisdom and guide their decisions. Should I go to this party? Is it OK to date _____? Help them!
Your job as a mentor is to help that young person make decisions. Partner with parents and help them on the right path, help them use the Bible as their roadmap, guide them in godly decisions.
2. Help Solve Problems – Genesis 2:18
God saw it was a problem that Adam was alone, and He fixed it. He provided a helper for him. Sure, we are not God, and we cannot solve all the problems of our young generation, no matter how much we would like this to be the case…but we can still help.
Help students find solutions to their problems. Listen, suicide is the second leading cause of deaths in teenagers. It is the fourth leading cause of death in ages 5-15! We need to help them find solutions, because they are finding the wrong answers all too often. Answers can be found in God’s Word. Some have parents that will lead them to those right answers, others do not. Let’s do our part as mentors, and help students solve their problems with God’s Word and prayer.
3. Give them responsibility – Genesis 2:20
Our motto this year in our student ministry is “Student Takeover”. My goal is to have students take over multiple ministries. Sure, it will start small with things like: announcements and running PowerPoint. But so far it has evolved into leading prayer groups & small groups, or leading the praise band. We have even taken it to the point of having the students plan and execute an entire Sunday Night youth group by themselves. How cool is that! They are learning ministry. What’s next in the takeover? Planning and executing a Community Easter Egg Hunt. Do I help? I try not to as much as I can. You may think that is cruel. I think it is empowering, teaching, and mentoring!
Keep finding ways to plug students into ministry. Let me give you an example. There was a 9th grader who was somewhat shy. So, did I make him be the “announcement guy” or lead a Bible study? No. I saw his gifts were in technology and computers. I talked to his parents and mentioned the idea of getting him plugged into the sound/multimedia team at church and in youth group. Now he runs PowerPoint for the main service and helps with sound on special events. How cool is that? He’s serving!
Sometimes all it takes is recognizing a student’s abilities or gifts, and plugging them in a service opportunity. God gave Adam the task of naming the animals. Well, that’s already been done, so find something for the teenager or child you are mentoring to do for God!
Who can you mentor today?