I learned years ago from Dr. Robert Clinton, that “mentoring” is a big word and a broad category. In the past, when someone would ask me to “mentor” or “disciple” them I’d basically say some version of “no.” I “wasn’t gifted that way” I’d say. I’m more the upfront guy. The door-opener. The friend. The catalyst. But a mentor – no way. It just sounded intimidating to me. I had visions of meeting with that person one hour every week (probably at an ungodly time of the morning)….forever. Doing Beth Moore type fill-in-the-blank studies. Just not me. So….NO!
But Clinton set me free from those silly thoughts by giving me 9 different types of mentoring. I won’t describe them – as I think they’re fairly self-explanatory. But here they are:
Discipler (which is basically the version I had in my head).
He even used the term “Occasional Mentor.” That was me. Sort of a coach/sponsor/contemporary model/Divine Contact sort of guy – occasionally. I felt comfortable with that.
So these next five personal mentors would be “Historical Models” that I’ve wanted to emulate in some way. Who have convicted me by their life and writings. They have been a bit of all nine of the above at one time or another – although I’ve not met them.
The First is NT (Tom) Wright. I have had the privilege of emailing with him over the years and he’s going to be speaking (via Skype from Scotland) at our Simply Jesus gathering here in Denver this November, but I’ve not met him personally.
Here’s what Tom’s taught me – from his writings:
1. That theology can be cool. This is a big one for me. I haven’t always thought that. At times in my life, I’ve dissed theology and doctrine. I’m sorry for that. I saw it as a dead end, not leading to Jesus (which it can be). Or as something only really smart people who sit in old musty churches do.
2. Bishop Wright has reminded me that it’s all about the Kingdom of God. That was hammered into me by George Eldon Ladd as well as John Wimber – but Tom Wright has defined it so eloquently over the years in his writings.
3. Dr. Wright has taught me that I can think deeply about the ways of Jesus, the Bible, God, the church, faith and everything else “theological” AND be moved to love Jesus more at the same time. It’s not one or the other – it’s both and….
4. Finally, he has reminded me to take time for “the little guy,” as he has done with me!
There are many other such authors who have inspired and taught me through their books. Two of them will also be with us at the Simply Jesus Gathering in November. Dallas Willard and Philip Yancey. Can’t wait….
I encourage you to allow yourself to be mentored by authors who have gone before us!