MentorNet 04 Who Should Mentor New Church Leaders?

When Churches or Christian organizations implement mentored coaching for new church leaders, three questions come up.


Question One: "Who should mentor new leaders?"

This question has several sides to it.

One with a legalistic or perfectionist bent might mean, "Who should not be allowed to mentor new leaders?"

A busy executive might mean, "Who can I delegate the mentoring to?"

Power freaks that see mentors as a threat might mean, "I want no one to get in my way. Who’s loyal to my position?"

Insecure personalities might mean, "I doubt my ability to mentor. Who else can do it?"

One who is trying to imitate the apostles might mean, "Who is capable and available to mentor new church leaders?"

The final answer should lead to discerning who is available to mentor others. In pioneer fields it may be another learner that is only a week ahead of his cousin.


Question Two: "What if my ‘mentee’ asks about something for which I lack experience?"

Remember that we do not have to give an answer at once; we can consult with our own mentor first, or with others. Often the best help comes from someone who has fallen on their face, their back and both sides, but discovered what to do in the process.

Many potential mentors lack experience and confidence, but want to help newer leaders to grow. They need the right tools. One tool in the box is a menu that they use any time. It should list the basic commands of Christ, ministries that the New Testament requires for a church and basic, and vital doctrines.

Another tool is the trouble-shooting chart at the bottom of this message.


Question Three "Who would pay me any attention?"

In one field this was expressed, "I’m ugly, have little education and my tribe used to be slaves. Why would a new leader listen to me?"

A deep sense of insecurity plagues many people. This apparently was the case with Timothy whom Paul mentored to coach others. He must have expressed to Paul that he felt that he was inexperienced. Paul's advice to Timothy was to be strong with help from the Lord, and to let no one despise his youth. Even people who do not want to be our friends socially will seek out our advice, if we let the Holy Spirit guide us when we mentor them.

These people need the strong assurance of their commissioning and gifting, just as Paul reminded Timothy of the gift he had received when the elders laid hands on them. They need constant encouragement, just as Paul encouraged Timothy, until they are confident.

We see the same snag in discipling on any level. Satan attacks our confidence. In one church the pastor ask the older men to disciple the younger. Nearly all of them felt incapable and assumed that the younger men would not want them to interfere with their spiritual lives. So he asked the younger men during a worship service to raise their hands if they wanted an older man to disciple them. Every one eagerly raised his hand without hesitation! So much for Satan’s lie!

When women of a new church in Cucamonga, California asked Denny (George’s wife) to disciple them she’d agree on the condition that they would disciple a newer believer. Many were shocked at the suggestion! They felt incapable, although they had been believers for many years and had absorbed tons of good Bible teaching! Denny simply got them together, sometimes over lunch, and arranged it.

Who did the apostle Paul recognize as potential trainers? In 2 Timothy 2:2 he qualified them as "faithful" and "able to teach others." Some Jerusalem leaders scoffed at the Galileans because they spoke with a country accent. But Jesus chose all of the original twelve from among these simple men and mentored them.

Brief Trouble Shooting for Church Reproduction

Common Snags

Common Causes

Common Cures (plan the activities)

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelism fails to bring people to Christ or to reach entire families

Workers lack power for evangelism.

Enlist serious intercessors and share the vision.

Pray for healing of the people with childlike faith.

Proclaim the good news as the apostles did, relating the death AND life giving resurrection of Jesus.

Expatriate workers fail to bond properly with the people and their culture, spending time mainly with each other.

Form task groups with workers who bond with the people and their culture and, as seen in Acts, who focus on a specific community and relate to it.

Live among the people, let them meet your deepest social needs.

Learn the language without a painful accent.

Commit to go and simply do what Jesus says, not for a limited term (avoid having teams with only short-term workers).

Expatriate workers mobilize few nationals for task groups.

Form task groups mainly with nationals or culturally close persons.

Aim not for permanent teams but temporary task groups with a task focus.

Worship style or evangelistic methods do not fit the culture.

Nationals write and lead music in their style, avoiding Western performance.

Celebrate the Lord’s Supper regularly.

Workers extract converts from family and friends, overdoing the personal (private) aspect of faith.

Rely on a ‘man of peace’ in a community; work with his contacts—Luke 10.

Start with heads of families--Acts 16:31.

See seekers as God does--part of a social unit--not as isolated individuals.

Converts fall back.

Call seekers to repent, not simply to make decisions.

Baptize repentant believers without undue delay.

Help converts love family and friends in useful ways.

 

 

 

 

Church or cell multiplication lags

           

Leaders encourage work only if they control it, failing to plan for granddaughter churches or cells.

Model servant leadership for new leaders, outside of classrooms.

Train and install new leaders faster--at least as fast as Paul did in Acts 14.

Methods or equipment are too costly, high-tech or Western.

Limit equipment and methods to what all potential workers in a ‘2 Timothy 2:2 training chain’ can easily obtain or grasp.

Workers lack focus on a specific, cohesive society.

Let the gospel flow where the Holy Spirit leads it. Don’t kill a culture by forcing it to mix with another in a church. See Appendix B, in the T&M Workshop Workbook for guidelines.

Leaders fear that false doctrine or bad practices will creep in if churches multiply rapidly.

Clarify what history shows: heresy comes from old, stagnant churches, not new ones. Simply train new leaders in the biblical way and relax.

Remind workers that where the apostles made disciples churches or urban cells resulted and reproduced. Teach obedience, not fear!

Legalistic policies deter new leaders from obeying Jesus’ commands

Leaders attribute more authority to human organization than to Christ, including for rules for baptism and Communion.

Make disciples as Jesus said, teaching to obey His commands in love, before all else. Found ministries on His commands, discerning between New Testament commands, mere apostolic practices that were not commanded and human traditions.

Discern between the essential purpose of commands and the various external forms that their practice can take.

 

 

 

Students fail to carry out field-work or studies

Trainers enroll immature pupils.

Enroll only leaders that qualify biblically as ‘elders.’

Too many attend sessions.

Gather no more than you can listen to and help plan.

Plans are too much or impractical.

Plan fieldwork that students can realistically do and agree to, noting specific people and places as you record their plans.

Accountability is weak.

Review work done. Give recognition for good work, note current needs.

Assignments do not fit current needs and opportunities.

Use the Student Activity Guide’s Activity Menu to select Activities that fit current needs. Look up activities to select options that fit.

Students find it hard to read.

See if students need inexpensive reading glasses.

Students work through books in a linear way, not as they need them.

Use the Study Options listed under each Activity in the Student Activity Guide to select books that fit current needs and opportunities.

Books are too costly or too big to carry around to read conveniently.

Reproduce books in their small size as T&M recommends. Do not bind them in larger volumes simply for the convenience of printers or secretaries.

Western funding stifles initiative

Leaders work only if paid.

Halt subsidies that create dependency on foreign subsidy. Be firm.

Teach Christian stewardship.

Translation gives problems

Translation is hard to read.

Review translation guidelines in T&M Translator’s Manual.

Translation drags.

Communicate more with translators, encourage them, and test books soon.

Books are unavailable

Trainers cannot get a book when a particular church need calls for it.

Set up book deposits within reach of all Trainers.

Inspect quantities of books on hand regularly to replace low stocks. Use standard training materials that are made for mentored education, such as Train & Multiply™ or Storybook for Training Pastors AMThiessen@aol.com.

© George Patterson and Galen Currah