I know we use terms like “coaching,” but we also use terms in the church like “leadership,” too. I miss other words with slightly different connotations, like “mentoring” and “pastoring.”
I have been away on a prayer retreat and the Spirit led me to an intense reading/prayer time in 2 Timothy. It’s been brutal, quite honestly.
But some quick thoughts on “mentoring.” This is from 2 Timothy 3:10-12.
10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, 11 as well as the persecutions and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra. I endured these persecutions and the Lord delivered me from them all. 12 Now in fact all who want to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (NET Bible)
First of all, what I see in mentoring is being there is vital. I like podcasts to an extent. I read books. I listen to sermons. And, yes, Paul is writing this letter so it’s “at a distant.”
But Timothy knew Paul.
I love Dallas Willard. I was able to sit for a week under his teaching several years back. But the most I learn from him is found in his writing. It’s at a distant. I have witnesses to his character, but I didn’t get to see his example.
Timothy knew Paul.
Paul lived out what he taught. He doesn’t tell Timothy, “Look, you’ve got my podcasts, what more do you want?”
He watched Paul in the good times and the bad. He saw Paul’s temper and his heart to care for people.
We have to use things at a distance to be sure. Just don’t let that be all you are about when it comes to learning. Get with someone and let their life get worked out right in front of you. Watch how they respond to things.
Don’t substitute a podcast or a book for true mentoring. Don’t get by on a Skype call. Get with someone who will let you into the control room of their lives for a time. THEN, you can follow that leader.