I was recently reminded of the importance of leadership in the role of mentoring and discipleship. Not just the mentorship that happens as we lead our young people as a group, or even in a small groups. More so, I am thinking of the one-on-one intentional pursuit of a younger individual that you pour into and are available to when they need someone with a few more years of life experience.
There were a few people in my life that mentored me, and were intentional with me. A few of whom were only for short seasons of my life, and that was okay, and I still look back and am so grateful for the time they gave. Some have spent years, and continue to spend their time and intentions listening, guiding, and being available to me. Looking back, I cannot possibly define the importance of those people in my life.
One mentor in particular reminds me of a very important piece of discipleship – it doesn’t have to be a big deal. She was only a few years older than me, but what she offered was incredibly valuable to me: her listening ear, and willingness to be honest about knowing well my own struggles. Our time together was simple, we would talk about life, I would talk about things that I might be struggling with in my walk of faith, and she would listen. I am sure she gave me great advice too, but mostly what impacted me deeply, was there was a person I really looked up to, especially in her faith – and she wanted to hear about my life, and she had struggled with the same or similar things before too. There was hope.
I learned many things from the people who have invested in me, and I could not thank them enough. But, as I recalled these important people I realized it is so simple.
1. They listened.
2. They were honest and told me I was not the only one.
3. They lived a future example that gave me hope.
If that is all it takes, just listening to a younger person’s journey, being honest to say, “I’ve been there too”, and being a person of faith they will realize there is hope for them too. All their struggles may not strangle them, and they might be able to find life and faith.
Sometimes we forget that discipleship is easy.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”