“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.” ‘Come, follow me’, Jesus said ‘and I will make you fishers of men’, at once they left their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-18)
A mentor according to Oxford dictionary is an experienced person giving advice and guidance to a less experienced person within a period of time. Discipleship comes from the Greek word mathetes which means learner or student. If we look at Mentorship and Discipleship, we see one thing in common; a teacher and student. In both cases an experienced person gives advice and guidance to a less experienced person within a period of time. This means that mentorship or discipleship involves a close relationship between a student and his teacher or a mentor and his student.
Biblical History of Mentorship
- The first clear picture of mentorship that we come across in the Bible is that between Moses and his successor Joshua. Although much is not said of how Moses took Joshua through the process of mentorship, we see instances where Joshua kept close to Moses even at the time he went to meet God at Mount Sinai.
- Joshua went with Moses to the mountain but because he could not go up the mountain with him, he opted to wait at the foot of the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 32: 17, 18)
- Later we see Moses handing over the mantle to Joshua when his time of service was over. He ensured that he introduced to the Israelites the man who would lead them to the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 31:2-8)
- Similar to the story of Moses and Joshua is that of Elijah and Elisha. Elisha continued with the work of his master Elijah and even did twice as much what Elijah did. We can attribute Elisha’s success in following the footsteps of his master on his obedience and dedication to his call.
- Because of the kind of relationship that he had with his master, Elisha was able to know what he needed to do in the event that his master left him or was taken away from him.
- This is the reason why when asked what he wanted, without hesitation he declared his interest of having a double portion of his master’s anointing, which he received as soon as Elijah was taken away.
- Despite this successful transition from Elijah to Elisha, Elisha on the other hand was not able to do the same successfully for his servant Gehazi. Apparently Gehazi was obsessed with earthly riches that he missed the mark and didn’t follow his master’s footsteps (II Kings 9:19-27).
Mentorship for Young People
- One reason why youths would have a problem in identifying suitable mentors or role models is that most of them are either not sure of what they want to do in life or there are few people who can stand out confidently as possible adequate role models for them.
- We have seen many young Christians across the world trying to emulate some prominent tele-evangelists. If asked who their role models or mentors are they would quote some of these prominent tele- evangelists.
- The problem with this idea is that rarely do we hear testimonials of how these people got to the current positions that they are in. The other problem is that these youths would hardly have on opportunity to share their experience with their respective mentors, therefore they know very little about their supposed mentors or role models.
- It is very important that one’s role model or mentor be someone he can easily access for advice, guidance or directions. This would not only help that individual to have a concrete spiritual life but would also help him to avoid living an illusion. Having our role models or mentors close by would help a great deal in facing the daily challenges of life.
The VIEW of Mentorship
Vision oriented. A good mentor must ensure that his student grasps the vision he holds, what the student hopes to achieve by learning from him and conscious of his purpose.
Impartial.A good mentor should also be impartial. This will ensure that no action is taken towards, or direction given to the student with clouded judgment.
Exemplary Character.This is one of the core qualities of a good mentor, he must have good leadership qualities, God fearing and of sound judgment.
Working Relationship.A good mentor must ensure that the relationship between him and his student is an open working one, consistent, easy accessibility to each other and within a given period of time.