Younger believers become mature through the investment of more experienced believers. Here are ways to start successful mentoring relationships.
Read this Bible text, and it’s tough for any of us not to see our responsibility to give some time and attention to young persons:
“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:2–8)
Here are some ways to “jumpstart” that commitment:
1. Spend time with young people who have an interest in your profession.
That common interest provides the basis for conversation, and conversation can lead to mentoring and investment. You might even invite them to your workplace.
2. Invite a younger believer to lunch.
You don’t need to have any agenda other than getting to know each other. We can learn and teach a lot over a few meals.
3. Invite younger couples for a meal in your home.
Just a few hours watching how you treat your spouse and raise your children can be life-changing to younger believers who’ve had no Christian role models.
4. Take a younger believer to a sporting event with you.
If you want them to really see your Christianity in action, have younger believers around you when the traffic is crazy or the referee makes a bad call against your team.
5. Read a book together.
Some folks aren’t readers, so you’ll need to find a book that works for both of you. Others are avid readers, but they’ve never been invited to discuss a book outside of a classroom.
6. Work with your church’s student pastor to hang out with younger believers.
There is always a need for dedicated, genuinely Christian older believers to influence the youth group.
7. Participate in your church’s membership class.
Attend the class regularly to encourage new believers and members. I suspect that mentor/mentee relationships might develop.
8. Commit to interceding regularly for a younger believer.
You might be surprised how praying for somebody (which requires conversations to learn about prayer needs) can lead to a discipling relationship.
Older believers, what steps have you taken to invest in younger believers? Give us some good ideas!
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This article was originally published on ChuckLawless.com.