Upcoming Events:

  • 52

    DAYS

  • 17

    HOURS

  • 13

    MINS

  • 00

    SECS

24/7 Support: +234 803 3053 489, +234 704 5971 616

info@dioceseoflagoswest.org

Login: Clergy Portal.

NEWS UPDATES

MENTORING AND SHEPHERDING FOR A FRUITFUL AND SUCCESSFUL LIFE AND MINISTRY: THE PRIEST AND LAITY

MENTORING AND SHEPHERDING FOR A FRUITFUL AND SUCCESSFUL LIFE AND MINISTRY: THE PRIEST AND LAITY

BY

THE VEN OLANREWAJU A. BABALOLA PhD

Immanuel College of Theology and Christian Education, Samonda, Ibadan.

 

 

Introduction

No 7 of Robert Green s 48 Laws of Powers reads: “Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you the good-like aura of efficiency and speed…”. This law is only a counsel stating what already exists in the natural subconsciousness of man; man is wired to look up to something as a guide.

No career path or vocation is entirely novel. Whatever channel one chooses to thread, there are always people who have taken that route before, whose experience can be a guide and a form of compass on how to go about the journey, such that the one who is following can achieve more success than the one whose life is being followed. No one becomes successful in life without having at one time or the other a voice to guide and a shoulder to lean on. It does not matter how gifted and intelligent an individual is, certain situations of life will exhaust his knowhow and prove too challenging for his intellect.

 

Life is inundated with confusion and challenges sufficiently equipped to destabilize man and make a shipwreck of his lofty ambitions. But the dynamics of life is such that one person s present challenge is another person s experience – that s the beauty of mentoring.

The call to ministry offers a great opportunity of shaping lives and moulding destinies. The laities in most cases look up to their priest as a guide in almost all things, hence, the priest-laity relationship is a form of mentoring where the priest is the mentor and the laities the mentees.

The hierarchical order of priesthood (in the Anglican Communion) is such that younger priests can leverage on the life and experience of the older priests as a guide to sail through the deeply challenging waters of ministry.

Definition of Terms

  1. Mentoring according to G.C Newton is a relational process between an older, more mature, more knowledgeable, or more skilled person and another person who learns in some intentional way. Robert defined it as a relational experience in which one person, called the mentor, empowers another person called the mentee, by the transfer of resources (such as insights, skills, values, connections to people who can help, finances, other materials). While M.J Anthony view mentoring is a concept and process that every responsible Christian who is serious about passing on the faith should be involved in at some point. It is a critical component of parenting as a parent guides, nurtures, and prepares a child for life. As believers, we should be committed to the process of mentoring another in order to ensure the ongoing success of the church.

Mentoring is a relationship between two people with the goal of professional and personal development. The "mentor" is usually an experienced individual who shares knowledge, experience, and advice with a less experienced person, or "mentee.”

Mentors become trusted advisers and role models – people who have "been there" and "done that." They support and encourage their mentees by offering suggestions and knowledge, both

 

general and specific. The goal is to help mentees improve their skills and, hopefully, advance their careers.

  1. Shepherding on the other hand is the act performed by a shepherd who is employed in tending, feeding and guarding the sheep in the pasture. According to smith Bible Dictionary shepherding in a nomadic state of society is the work of every man the master and his slaves

The progenitors of the Jews in the patriarchal age were nomads, and their history is rich in scenes of pastoral life. The occupation of tending the flocks was undertaken, not only by the sons of wealthy

chiefs but even by their daughters. (Genesis 30:29 ff.;

Genesis37:12 ff., Exodus 2:10 ). The Vicar of a parish church who superintends and gives instruction in spiritual things is into the act of shepherding.

CONCEPT OF MENTORING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

In the Old Testament, mentoring is establishing a God-ordained relationship with a person(s) who will assume the mentor s spirit of prophecy to execute the will of God. The Old Testament mentors or leaders sought followers that God chose to support the plans of his kingdom. In Exodus 27:18-23, God called Moses to transfer his mentoring spirit as the leader of Israel to Joshua. God told Elijah to anoint Elisha to the status of a prophet as his replacement (1Kings 19:16). God delivered the prophecy to Deborah that Barak followed defeating the Canaanite enemy who was oppressing the children of Israel (Judg. 4:1-9).

Mentors cultivate relationships as supporters, encouragers, and teachers to those less experienced. Organizations produce these liaisons of supporters, encouragers, and teachers through “interpersonal relationships” requiring the mentor to instruct, inspire, nurture, promote and retain integrity in their relationships. Mentoring is a form of teaching and its approach is uncovered in the Old Testament (Ex. 4:28-31; 18:14- 26; 24:13; Num. 27:18; Deut. 3:28; 31:7; 34:9-12; 1 Kings 2:1-9; 2 Kings

2:9; 2 Chr 2:10-15;). Most importantly, mentors give mentees feedback fostering growth and improvement. Leaders are vital for shaping their followers for the impending work that fosters change in organizations.

 

Jethro & Moses Example

One of the first instances of mentoring in the Old Testament is the example of Jethro and Moses. Notice several things we can learn about mentoring for their relationship in Exodus 18.

First, the foundation of mentoring is a close relationship (Exodus 18:1-8).

In these verses, we see the closeness of these men. They greeted one another. They were concerned about each other s welfare. They spent time together talking. They told each other about what was going on. No doubt, this relationship had been cultivated over the forty-year period that Moses was a shepherd in the wilderness (Exodus 3:1).

Often, we focus too much on the mentoring and not enough on the relationship. Without a close relationship built by trust, love, and mutual commitment, mentoring will not work.

Second, there is need for transparency if mentoring relationship will work (Exodus 18:8).

Moses had a willingness to tell what was going on (“Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done…”). Moses was willing to be vulnerable. He was willing to admit fears, weaknesses, mistakes, and concerns. I have no doubt the Jethro was just as transparent as Moses.

Third, the mentor must genuinely desire the best for his protégé (Exodus 18:9-12).

Jethro was very excited about how God blessed and used Moses. Moses' victory was Jethro s victory. He was happy when things were going well for Moses. He was just as excited if not more excited than Moses over what God had done for him. He threw a big feast for Moses, Aaron, and all the elders of Israel.

We need to learn to celebrate the successes of those we are mentoring. We should be their biggest cheerleader. Instead of bragging on our accomplishments, we should brag on how God uses them.

 

Fourth, mentors make positive investments in the lives of those they are mentoring (Exodus 18:13-23).

  1. What Moses' leadership lacked. He was a fairly new leader. He led Israel well in times of crisis, but he was not so good at overseeing the day-to-day affairs of the Moses had to learn that different seasons of leadership require different leadership skills. A mentor is there to help continue developing those he is training. Moses tried to do everything himself (18:13). He did all the judging. We are not sure why. Maybe it was a lack of trust. Maybe it was ignorance or perhaps he overestimated his own importance. Whatever the reason, he thought he was doing right (18:15-16). Like we often do, he made many spiritual excuses for why he was not training and mentoring others.
  2. Jethro helped Moses develop as a leader and trainer of others. He questioned Moses' method (18:14). He then pointed out why his method was not good (18:17-18). It was not good for Moses because he was going to wear away. It was not good for the people because they had to wait all It was not good for the work of God because his trying to do everything was actually hindering the effectiveness of God s people. Jethro offered wise counsel (18:19-23). He did not suggest that Moses stop judging, stop being a representative of the people to God, stop being God s spokesman to the people, or stop teaching the people God s laws and how to live (v.19-20). Jethro came up with a very helpful, practical solution (v.21-22). He told him to choose out of the people able men of character who could help and to let these men help with the judging. As a result of Jethro s counsel, things were easier for Moses and the people were better served (v.22-23).

If we are going to mentor others, we must be committed to positively investing in others. It is not about using people to build our ministry; it is about using our ministry to build people. Mentoring only works that way.

 

Fifth, mentoring is only possible if we are teachable (Exodus 18:24-26).

Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law! There were many reasons, he might have not listened:

  • Moses had already been greatly used by
  • Moses was already leading a large number of
  • Moses could have thought, “You are just my father-in-law, what do you know?”
  • Moses could resist letting others get involved and losing his “control”.

Moses was known for his meekness and humility (Numbers 2:3). The fact that he listened to his father-in-law and took his advice shows teachability. Moses did not think he had arrived or that he did not need any help.

Moses followed Jethro s advice to the letter. He hearkened and did all that Jethro said. He chose able men out of Israel and set up heads over the people. Often we complain about not having a mentor, but mentoring will only work if someone is willing to be taught!

MENTORING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Mentoring in the New Testament is different because it looks at what God s Word teaches about mentoring and training leaders. Believing that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for learning. The New Testament is replete with examples of mentoring. Of significant consideration in this presentation is that of Paul and Timothy in (I Timothy 1 -2:3). We shall carefully examine the aforementioned scripture to further enhance our understanding of mentoring outside of the Old Testament example.

Paul and Timothy Example (I Timothy 1 -2:3)

  1. Verse 1 – Paul is introduced here as an 'apostle of Jesus Christ'. Paul is a known apostle with a verifiable conversion experience (Acts 9). This is Christianity, and he who will mentor another in this journey must first be a known Christian with an obvious and a genuine change of allegiance from the old man (the devil) to the new man which is Christ. It is therefore not wise to make your mentor someone whose Christianity is questionable, as it will not produce the desired

 

  1. Verse 2 – By calling Timothy his son, Paul reveals the kind of relationship mentoring is – a kind of Father-Son relationship where one entrusts his life to the care of the other and submits himself to his guidance at all times and in all things like that of Jethro and The Father here is a man with foresight and a built shoulder upon which the son can stand to gain the vantage point of preparing accurately and sufciently for the future.
  2. Verse 3 – Paul in this verse confirms again the fundamental qualities of a Christian mentor which are: (a) serving God with a pure conscience and being able to say it without the fear of being contradicted by those who know your public and secret life (b) he must possess a good level of experience in Christianity; hence no one is to be a mentor who is not an

In verse 3b, Paul by praying ceaselessly for Timothy emphasized one of the basic responsibilities of the mentor to the mentee. The mentee is actively present in thought of the mentor every time so much that in all the mentor does, he remembers always to pray for the mentee.

  1. Verse 4 – This is an expression of the deep affection that sits at the base of every successful There was a great emotional connection between Paul and Timothy, that, just seeing Timothy filled Paul with great joy. This deep emotional connection is also evident in verses 15-18 where Paul shares freely with Timothy the happenings in his life that are personal – both palatable and otherwise just as we have seen in the story of Jethro and Moses. Mentorship is not a thing done passively, it is rather an all- encompassing concept that permeates both the lives of the mentor and the mentee.
  2. Verse 5 – Paul does not only know Timothy, he knows also his Mother and This implies that it is incumbent on the mentor to care to know everything about his mentee, even the information that are considered insignificant – family history, hobbies, personal preferences – their subject of discourse must not be localized in the realm of Christianity alone but must cut across.

 

  1. Verses 6 and 7 – The whole reason for mentorship is that the mentor will help the mentee to actualize his God-given gifts and maximize his potential. The mentor is the man who carefully nurtures and nurses those potential in the mentee until they become mature and in turn benefit the whole body of
  2. Verses 8-14 – Instructions! …all from a standpoint of experience. Paul gives Timothy all the instructions he needs to live a successful life and run a great ministry. Of particular interest is verses 13 and 14 where Paul practically instructed Timothy, son, watch my life, do as I do and become a successful man and minister' – that s mentoring; the mentee only has to follow the footsteps of the

Also, Paul did not forget to tell Timothy that he would only be able to keep all he needs by the help of the Holy Spirit. The mentor does not present himself to the mentee as the all in all, this is the difference between mentorship in Christianity and mentorship elsewhere. It is the Holy Spirit that dwells in the believer that helps the manifestation of the finished work.

  1. Chapter 2:1-2 – Mentorship is like a big cycle that guarantees the preservation of a The one undergoing mentoring today will one day be mature enough to mentor others – that s the beauty of it. With this, we can preserve the genuineness and originality of faith because it is being passed down as received, from one generation to another.

So what lessons can we learn from the mentoring relationship of Paul and Timothy?

1.                We should be selective in who we choose to mentor.

  • Not everyone qualifies for a close mentoring
  • We need to look for faithful, able men (2Timothy2:2).
  • Paul chose Timothy based on what others said about him (well reported).
  • Most of those in the Bible who were intensely mentored were selected by the mentor: Elijah

 

chose Elisha, Jesus chose the disciples, Barnabas chose Paul, and Paul chose Timothy.

2.                Mentoring is a long process that involves a lot of time.

  • Much of Timothy s training and experience took place while he was with Paul.
  • Paul continually gave Timothy more experience and opportunities to use his talents and
  • Paul wrote letters to encourage and challenge Timothy in his ministry and personal life.
  • Timothy became Paul s trusted son in the faith because he spent so much time with

3.                Mentoring is a committed relationship that is not just one-directional.

  • When it was Paul s time to die, he wrote his final letter to Timothy which shows how much he loved and respected
  • They were more than just coworkers; they were friends. They were family; they were like father and
  • To get the maximum benefit of mentoring, both parties, the mentor and the mentee, must open their hearts to the other, love the other, and be deeply committed to one

THE CONCEPT OF SHEPHERDING (PSALM 23; JOHN 10:11-16)

Shepherding is taking care of and guarding a flock of sheep. The shepherd is the guardian of the sheep who smells like the sheep. The shepherd is a higher animal with a more developed intelligence than the sheep but uses his greater natural endowments to safeguard and provide for the sheep. There are three important points that highlights the shepherd-sheep relationship.

  1. Protection – The sheep is an animal vulnerable to lots of attacks and intimidation from man and predators It is based on this that the primary function of the shepherd is to ensure the protection of the sheep day in day out. “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”. 'Giving his life' here does not necessarily imply death, but that the shepherd risks

 

his life, puts his life on the line for the safety of the sheep. All the dangerous animals that like to feed on sheep are animals powerful enough to also kill the shepherd – wolf, bear, giant snake, hyena, crocodile…these are the animals against which the shepherd protects the sheep. That is the reason behind the confidence expressed by the Psalmist – 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil'. The sheep will fear no evil because she is with the shepherd who is willing to fight off any danger for her sake.

Because of this responsibility, the shepherd will deliberately pursue improvement – he will develop a near perfect hunting skill, he will develop strategies of communication with the sheep in case there is a need to warn them of imminent danger, he will develop understanding of seasons and the peculiarities of the pasture so that he only leads the sheep to safe pastures with a minimal risk of dangerous predators and poisonous plants.

Life is a battlefield of organized warfare both physically and spiritually. The priest more especially is the one who must stand in gap during the day and in the night to fight spiritual battle on behalf of his members (the laity), otherwise the marauding wolf of this world will devour them and truncate their respective destinies.

Similarly, in a house, the father is the head and the priest representing Christ; he must lead the family in warfare against the onslaught of the evil one.

  1. Provision “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters”. The sheep cannot fend for herself. What the sheep eats and drinks is supplied or provided by the shepherd – “thou prepares a table before me”. The sheep knows she cannot want for anything because the shepherd provides all she ever needs, principal among which are food and

The word of the God is the bread of life. The priest therefore as shepherd of the laity has the responsibility of feeding them with

 

the right word and must feed them to satisfaction. This was what Jesus was telling Peter in John 21:15-17 that he should feed and care for the sheep. It is by feeding them with the quality word and in appropriate proportion and ration that full growth is achieved, this will manifest in their spiritual and physical wellbeing.

  1. The Rod and Staff effect – The herdsman has a single stick with which he leads the herds of The stick is a rod when it is used as tool of protection against predators; and a staff when it is used as a tool of instruction and guidance for the herds.

THE CHRISTIAN MENTOR AND HIS METHODS

Mentoring is a broad concept that is found in every institution of the world. In Christianity, it is called 'discipleship'; in politics it is called 'godfatherism'; while in education it is called tutoring.

The Christian mentor is chiefly the priest in charge of a parish who has the responsibility of developing the life of his parishioners both spiritually and physically. The Christian mentor is the elder who is carefully nurturing a younger Christian so as to help him achieve all God has purposed for his life. The methods of a Christian mentor include:

  1. Follow-Up – After an individual surrenders his life to Christ, follow-up is needed to forestall a relapse to the old ways. The Christian mentor is never tired of checking up on his mentee to ensure he gains his footings in the
  2. Imparting the Basics – The basics of Christianity like salvation, justification, sanctification…are carefully imparted in the young believer by the mentor. This is the beginning of a gradual and progressive process of indoctrination. It is this impartation that ensures that the new believer is not vulnerable to the deceit of false

Also, the rudimentary requirements for success in life, like the dignity of labour, prudence, kindness… are thought to the mentee by the mentor showing practical examples by his own way of life.

  1. Identifying and developing gifts and calling – The call of God upon a man s life no matter how evident must be carefully nursed to maturity otherwise the call will destroy the Just as a

 

football coach identifies talents in young footballers and help to daily nurture it until it becomes a superstar, the Christian mentor tends the gifts and calling of his mentee until the gifts become beneficial to both the body of Christ and the carrier of the gift.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MENTORING AND SHEPHERDING TO A SUCCESSFUL LIFE AND MINISTRY

  1. Life itself is full of battles which mostly predate the fighters. It will be of great advantage to anyone who is able to enjoy the insulating shield of a Not that shepherding will totally immune one to battles, but it will definitely ensure that one is not consumed in the tough battles of life.
  2. Indeed, it is to your mentor that you can confess your struggles and admit your fears without the fear of being backstabbed or ridiculed. Many people die under the burden of their secrets and concealed struggles because there is no one in their lives they can trust with their inadequacies; many have made a complete shipwreck of their lives and ministries because of this. The mentor is mature enough to ensure that his mentee come out stronger from such struggles
  3. The mentor is one person who can confront you with the naked truth when you become a big person in life and ministry. For example, when a man becomes Bishop, even his friends are careful of what they say to him. But his mentor will look him straight in the eyes and redress him without
  4. Your mentor is the one who will not give up on you even when you give up on When the tough challenges and vicissitudes of life box you to a corner of quitting, your mentor does not cease to believe you can sail through because he has the experience of conquering similar challenges in his own journey

MENTORING LESSONS FOR US AS CLERGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

  1. Mentors are willing to trust when others won t.
  2. Mentors are willing to take risks when others are

 

  • Mentors believe when others
  1. If we are going to mentor and disciple leaders, we must be willing to help those that no one else will help, believe in those that others won t believe in, and take risks on
  2. Mentors find a place for others to get
  3. Mentors seek out those they are training and help them to get experience in
  • Mentors don t do everything They see the strengths of others and let them use their gifts and abilities.
  • Before you can move on, you need to train a man or men to take your
  1. Don t be so insecure that you can t shift from leader to
    • The important thing is that the work gets
    • We are mentoring not just to serve but to
    • We are a success when we have trained a man to take our
    • If we cannot retreat into the shadows, we will not be able to train strong
    • We have to encourage them and then let them
  2. There may come a point where we must pass them off to other mentors for further training and they pass us

IN CONCLUSION

Dear clergy and leaders of the church, if you want to succeed in life and ministry and want a beautiful continuity of the ministry that will surpass you, then give room for mentoring and good shepherding of the flock in your care and give yourself up for mentoring. You can hardly ever get all the training you need for life from your biological parents or natural mentor alone. God always sends people to fill the gaps in your life. It takes humility to accept and receive mentors. Your lack of mentorship is not a sign of superiority it is a minus for you. Look for someone who has achieved more than you and learn from the person and in turn search for one you will train and pass of your spirit to. It is definitely a blessing to be mentored.

Thank you for listening.

 

REFERENCES

Benner G David (2002). InterVarsity Press.

 

Sacred Companions,   Downers Grove, IL:

 

 

 

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (1954). Publishers.

 

Life Together. New York: HarperCollins

 

Brad Merchant (2002). Mentoring Like Jesus: Making Discipleship A Part of Everyday life, GrandRapid.

Clinton, J. Robert and Stanley, Paul D (1992). Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress,

Fazel E. Freeks & George Lotter (2014). “Possible Mentoring and Discipleship in the New Testament” Journal for Christian Scholarship 3rd Quarter.

Henrichsen W. A. (2000). Disciples are made not Born. Helping others to grow to maturity in Christ.

Naomi Ruth, (2010). The Power of Mentoring: Other Mentors In the Bible, Bloomfield Press.

Shepherding (2011). In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved June 28, 2022 from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shepherding

Travis Snode, (2014). Mentoring mission in the Old Testament, Baptist Vision.

 

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_72.htm. Accessed on 29/06/2022

....

COMMENTS

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published.