Plugged-in, Energized and Leading with Men
TIME TO ENGAGE
Living in The Way. In the first century, Christians behaved and lived so differently that outsiders described them as followers of The Way. This phrase (i.e., “The Way”) comes from Jesus’ characterization of himself. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” (Jn 14:6).
In training, we are apprenticed by mentors. In engagement, we train as mentors. Spiritually energized and experienced, journeymen fulfill their higher calling to apprentice younger believers. Journeymen show newer believers how Christlikeness translates from one generator to the next. Unlike a job where an employee’s experience gets shelved at retirement age, journeymen believers become more and more valuable! Because spiritual transformation and growth never stop, the need for faith-filled, insight-filled mentors never ends!
Discipling and Mentoring similarities. Terms like “mentoring” and discipling” are often used interchangeably. These roles have lots in common. Both refer to training that produces spiritual maturity. Both approaches help discern and apply Christlike responses to real life situations. Both approaches sharpens believers (Prov 27:17). Toolsets for mentoring and discipling can be customized to meet individual and group goals.
Discipling and Mentoring differences. There are technical differences between these training techniques. Techniques for larger groups differ from those used for small, 2-3 person groups. Settings can be social but they must also be conducive to teaching. A positive atmosphere is needed. Conviction, confidentiality and care are essential. Every participant must understand that God’s Spirit affects people differently. Here are examples of small and large group settings where effective discipling and mentoring occurred.
MEN WHO MENTOR
“Mentoring” seeks Christlike growth in smaller, more intimate groups. Mentoring is practiced, typically, by groups of 2-3 individuals.
Jesus mentors Nicodemus (Jn 3). Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, visited Jesus one night in secret. Jesus mentored Nicodemus by correcting his misunderstanding of the Law and faith. Jesus confronted Nicodemus lifestyle by explaining re-birth. Jesus invested in Nicodemus, 1-on-1, to teach him that keeping God’s Law was not about about tweaking human behavior as much as it was about spiritual rebirth to transform man completely.
Jesus mentors a Samaritan woman (Jn 4). While crossing through Samaria, and after his disciples left to gather food, Jesus spoke to a woman at a well in Sychar. Jesus mentored the woman in two ways. He corrected her misguided faith. Then, he punctuated the lesson by miraculously confronting her lifestyle of multiple husbands. Jesus “spoke truth” to the woman, 1-on-1, to correct her misguided faith and empower changed behavior.
Mentoring is a personal partnership between 2-3 people who are challenging each other to build character that is more like Christ. Despite the implied hierarchy of the mentorer over the one mentored, practical experience shows that the friendship relationship grows to become co-mentoring. The bonds of friendship and vulnerability breed a cooperative exchange where both partners sharpen each other. The King James translation of Proverb 27:17 says it well. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Don’t miss this! Mentoring is about sharpening the countenance (i.e., Christlike expression) of a friend
MEN WHO DISCIPLE
“Discipling” produces Christ-like growth in larger but less intimate groups. Discipleship, in group settings, can be more difficult because of social dynamics. Customized group discipleship programs must give bible knowledge and also stimulate Christlike lifestyle change. This does not mean that groups are bad or that they make discipleship impossible. They do not. Social fellowship (i.e., potlucks, wine tasting, social events, etc) fulfill a valuable need in churches but discipleship requires focus that challenges character and changes lives. Note Jesus’ technique in the following examples:
Jesus discipled large groups of followers away from distractions. On a Galilean hillside, Jesus taught his followers about Kingdom values (Mt 1-12), Kingdom character (Mt 5:13-16), the Law (Mt 5:17-20), anger (Mt 5:21-26), lust (Mt 27-30), marriage and divorce (Mt 5:31-32), vows and commitment (Mt 5: 33-37), retaliation (M5: 38-42) and loving enemies (Mt 5:43-48). Jesus taught about giving (Mt 6:1-4), prayer (Mt 6:5-15), fasting and sacrifice (Mt 6:16-18), money (Mt 6:19-24), worry (Mt 6:25-34), criticism (Mt 7:1-6), asking and seeking (Mt 7:7-12), the way to Heaven (Mt 7:13-14), sincerity (Mt 15-20) and true discipleship (Mt 7:21-27).
Jesus discipled His twelve apostles during meals. Before the Passover Festival began and as their evening meal was underway, Jesus taught service and humility to his apostles by washing their feet (Jn 13:1-10). On a separate occasion, after they eaten their Passover meal, Jesus initiated his commemorative Supper to link his body and blood to Passover forgiveness and redemption.
Jesus discipled groups 1) to teach and 2) confront. In a general setting, Jesus proclaimed himself to be “The Light of the World” (Jn 8:12). Moments later in confrontation with a smaller group of Pharisees (and His disciples), Jesus re-taught that physical blindness is often easier to cure that willful blindness (Jn 9:1-7).
REAL MEN MENTOR. REAL MEN DISCIPLE.
At the beginning of this “Journey” Every Man Arizona said that these are exciting times for men in ministry. They really are! Christian men are standing to lead at home, at work and in their churches. God’s word is alive. His Spirit is active and re-energizing men!
- The Journey does not stop at deciding to follow Jesus.
- The Journey is about training to trust Jesus by living a transformed life.
- The Journey is about mentoring new believers to react like Christ is real life situations.
- The Journey is about helping men to see their place, now, and visualize their role in the future.
Pray that gifted, qualified men rise up to lead and mentor others. Pray whether God is calling you to be one of those gifted and transformed men.
Renewal is about rebirth to become the men we were created to be and to fulfill the roles we were meant to live. Renewal is NOT an end; it is the empowered beginning of our story.
Training is about sharpening one another through apprenticeship in the Way. God gives us his Spirit to empower us from from the inside-out. God mentors us with brothers-in-Christ who hold-up mirrors to our faces and challenge us from the outside-in! Finally, God opens doors for men maturing believers display their giftedness in leadership.
Engaging is about applying our new character and gifts to lead in churches, sharpen other men and challenge conventional solutions with the mind of Christ.
What's Next? Get Plugged-in!
PLUG-IN TO A LOCAL CONGREGATION
Local Churches with a Men’s Ministry (in alphabetical order)