Monday, May 21, 2012

Mentoring, Teaching, and Discipleship

Marcia Trotter in her new book, Staff Development on a Shoestring, makes some good points on mentoring that is applicable to both discipleship and teaching. Trotter divides the process of mentoring into four stages: initiation, cultivation, separation, and redefinition. The initiation is when the mentor and mentee meet for the first time. Cultivation is the mentor teaching the disciple. Separation is when the mentor and mentee separate and the mentee can do the work alone. Redefinition is when the mentor and mentee establish a new relationship. An example of this would be working as colleagues.

How does this apply to discipleship? Conversion can be considered the initiation stage. Cultivation is the discipleship stage. Separation is when the disciple is equipped to do the work on her own. At the last stage the disciple can be one of the leaders and disciple others. It seems many new Christians go through one door and go out the other door. Is this because they are not mentored. Jesus spent three years with his disciples. First, He called them. Second, they saw Him do the work. Third, they did the work under his supervision. Last, He sent them out to do the work themselves two-by-two.

Of course, this can work in teaching too. First, we are introduced to a student or students. We began to teach them the main parts of the discipline. We show them how to practice the discipline. They practice the discipline under our supervision. They reach a point they can do the work without our supervision. Lastly, they can be treated as colleagues or they can come to us for advice as a fellow traveler.

Many benefits can come from mentoring. We will need mentors all through our life and there are apprentices that need our skills and guidance.

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