MentorNet 07
The Value of Menu-Assisted Mentoring

A distinct feature of New Testament leader training is the way Jesus and his apostles gave intensive, guided, focused attention to their apprentices and their flocks. Paul made his training approach explicit to Timothy: “As for you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. What you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Join me in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1-3 ISV).

Paul was both source and model of the doctrines, insights, advice and skills that he passed on to Timothy, who was to do the same for others. This mentoring “chain” follows the advice that Jethro gave to Moses (Exodus 18). Such chains find a biblical basis also in Titus 1:5 and Christ's example.

Jesus and His apostles set the example for us. They did not use a linear, analytical curriculum. They simply responded to needs, questions and problems when they arose. A good mentor does the same. He listens to his trainees, and then provides coaching, reading, or other forms of instruction that meets their needs. Of inestimable value to those who prepare leaders or pastors as apprentices, is a menu of training activities, materials, readings and advice, arranged in a manner that enables them to be found quickly. A good menu lists common pastoral issues and church activities, with the corresponding studies or reading.

Jesus approved the use of varied sources for teaching about the kingdom of God, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” The purpose of a training menu is to help integrate, for a new pastor, a variety of disciplines and material to apply at once to his people. While well-experienced pastors and missionaries may not need such a menu because they can call on their memory to select studies or reading, but younger trainers probably will need the help that a good menu provides.

The New Testament requires the following areas of church life in some form. These 14 areas make up the main divisions of the Paul-Timothy training menu, which has over a hundred studies for training leaders and for children, listed under these headings:

·        Introduction: guidelines for new trainers and trainees

·        Assurance: counseling and visiting those who need comfort

·        Bible: survey, interpretation, application and background to God's Word

·        Church-planting: reproducing congregations and cell groups

·        Disciple-making: loving obedience to Jesus

·        Evangelism: baptism, salvation from sin, death and hell

·        Giving: stewardship

·        Growth in Christ: transformed character

·        History: events of great importance

·        Love: family life, serving the needy, fellowship

·        Missions: working in different cultures

·        Organizing: leading others

·        Prayer: faith, healing

·        Teaching biblically: communication, story-telling

·        Training leaders: mentoring, uniting training with other ministries

·        Worship: Lord's Table, holidays and special celebrations

Download the studies listed under these headings freely from .