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Mentoring Insights from Paul

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

When we turn to Scripture for biblical instruction about mentoring, we often look to the life of the apostle Paul. One passage that stands out is in Paul’s second letter to his young protégé Timothy.

And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2 NKJV

What you have learned from me is not exclusively for you, Paul is pointing out. As a pastor and overseer of the church, Timothy is to pour into others. He is to teach what he has learned from Paul, which is grounded in the life and person of Jesus. He is to teach “sound doctrine,” not myths or speculations. He is to be a guardian and preacher of the good news of Jesus. He is to keep the message and teaching pure and unstained.

Timothy’s doctrine was grounded in what he was given from Paul, and I would strongly suggest that his pastoral skills were shaped by what he learned from Paul as well. Paul’s mantra was, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” In other words, take on the Christ-like ways you see me operating and treating others, and cast away anything that is not Christ-like. This is the relational aspect of ministry skills and practices, which are caught more than taught. This is what is called “the special sauce,” the secret ingredient of mentoring that can only take place in relationships and over time. To learn more, don’t miss our new series, The Art of Mentoring.

Let’s be clear that Timothy and all Christian ministers are to preach the gospel to everybody, but take note to whom Timothy was to pass along the ministry treasures he had received from Paul — to faithful individuals. It doesn’t say popular, smart, good-looking, etc. It says to mentor those who are demonstrating the faithfulness of Jesus in their lives. It is from this passage that we latched onto the acronym FATE. Is this emerging leader, pastor, Avenue champion flowing in the Faith of Christ? Is this candidate Available? Is this individual Teachable? Does this person demonstrate Enthusiasm for the ministry of Jesus? This short checklist proves time and time again to be helpful.

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