In my time as a disciple of Jesus Christ (and as a pastor) I’ve seen nothing that speeds up spiritual growth like having a spiritual mentor. Spiritual growth takes place at warp when a person has a mentor.
Let me share with you a few men who were huge spiritual influences on me.
“Jeff, takes us home.” – Coach Williams
Coach Williams was a spiritual influence long before I ever noticed his impact. I was a knuckle-headed high school wrestler. He was my coach. After a long weekend in a sweaty gym the team was nearing home when coach barked, “Jeff, take us home.” I popped my head up, looked around, and said, “Keep going straight and then take a left at the light.” I was giving directions and showing my spiritual ignorance. “No, man. Not directions. Close this trip in prayer,” coach responded with grace. I look back and I’m thankful for his influence at time when I did not see how God was working around me.
“Would you be willing to teach a sixth grade boys Sunday School class?” – Marshall
Marshall’s question came at a pivotal time. I was a freshman in college and a week removed from my baptism. I did not know Genesis from Revelation but I was eager to learn and grow in my new found faith. After attending a new member luncheon Marshall asked, “Would you be willing to teaching a sixth grade boy Sunday School class?” In complete ignorance I said, “yes.” I would teach that class over the next 5 years. It was the beginning of God calling me into ministry.
“Have you ever considered that God has been preparing you for ministry?” – Dennis
In a previous post I spoke of the spiritual debt I owe to Dennis – it is a debt I don’t feel I could ever repay. During a five year period I met in Dennis’ home every Monday night and studied the Scriptures. We read, memorized, prayed, and wrestled with the Scriptures. Dennis gave me opportunities to lead small groups, teach on Wednesday nights, and much more. He also asked me a question over a plate of chips and salsa that change my life forever. In the midst of failed business career Dennis asked me, “Have you ever considered that God has been preparing you for ministry?” One days later I turned in a two-week notice and stepped into the unknown.
“Amen.” – Kevin
While in seminary I had the privilege of planting a church with Kevin. I’ve shared a few of those stories before. Yet, some of my fondest memories in that three year period took place on Tuesday nights in Kevin’s home. I gathered in the living room with Kevin and his wife. We simply prayed. We prayed for the church, families, situations, the community. Nothing fancy. Three people in a living room. Praying. I’m blessed by such a tremendous example early on in my ministry.
My spiritual growth has been shaped by this group. I would not be the man I am today without their influence.
Do yourself a favor: Allow yourself to be shaped by a spiritual mentor.