It’s just hit me lately that a big part of mentoring is knowing what to share. This semester I’m taking a course in pastoral theology and another one on prayer. Needless to say, they’re both very straight-forward, hands-on type courses. We spend time walking through the Scriptures and the professors take time to apply the principles to our lives in very practical ways…
Basically we’re learning things that you would probably assume we could figure out. But we haven’t. Dr Haykin noted today that he can’t recall ever hearing a pastor openly questioned about his prayer life in an ordination council, or when he speaks of his call to ministry. There is great danger in assuming.
So… what did we talk about? In pastoral theology, kerux began by teaching us about how to set up and run your study, schedule your time, file your notes, etc., etc. In prayer, we talked about physical posture (for one thing) and how important it is and what precedent there is for prayer-posture in Scripture.
Things like this seem so mundane that they generally don’t get taught. I can’t remember ever hearing someone say that their mentor sat with them and talked about how to setup a day-timer and how to make it effective. These are things that take 10 minutes to learn about from someone else, or 10 years to figure out on your own (with who knows how many dumb mistakes along the way).
And then there’s sex. Now that’s something you’d think people would know about, but as Tim Challies has pointed out recently (see Tim’s comments after the post) even in our sex-crazed society, there is still much godly, practical wisdom that needs to be passed on in our churches if we are to glorify Christ by delighting in God-pleasing sex.
So… what’s the point? When you’re mentoring, think about the things you’d never think to talk about. Don’t be afraid to go over the mundane things that you figured out on your own… these are often the most valuable, practical lessons that can be learned in a mentoring relationship. And if you’re the one being mentored, just keep your eyes open. Learn to watch carefully so you’ll pick up from osmosis things that no-one would ever think to stop and teach.