I love a good series. I have been focused on lessons learned lately. I believe everything is either a blessing or a lesson. There can be challenges in every area of life. The point is to learn something.
I hope throughout this series something blesses you! God loves you with an everlasting love!!
Mentoring and Discipling People Lessons Learned:
It is quite impossible to mentor or disciple a person who is not present, not invested, or refuses any form of feedback.
Imagine a teacher in a regular school. They are teaching calculus (one of my favorites) and the students never show up, never do homework, and when they give wrong answers they fight the teacher. What will they learn? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I have devoted a good chunk of my youth to mentoring/discipling-actual engagement and personal investment in the lives of people. They can text me, call me, email me, have lunch, be engaged, serve/minister with me, and I have walked with many. Yet I have seen the same patterns. I do not write this with judgement, just observation. I also understand we all have lives that can be pretty full and we must prioritize. I am not targeting any person-I promise. I am sharing patterns I have seen.
1. The person the least engaged will sometimes have the most complaints they are not getting anything out of something. I had a lady this February just go off on me because she was asked to at the bare minimum pray for others (it’s in the bible). She complained about how things were done, yet her attandance was less than 5%. How can you criticize something you don’t actively participate in or even know what is happening? Not offended, it just did not make sense. Insert “Does Not Compute”-my brain went ???? No worries she is not a FB friend.
2. Some will desire growth without any investment. I have a stock portfolio. If I do not invest any money in those stocks, guess what? I get zero growth. Zero. I can complain, blame my financial planner, or invest something so it can be multiplied. God gives seed to the sower. Sowers invest something. This principle does not just work for money. Sow kindness, sow mercy, sow encouragement, sow information, sow opportunity, sow revelation. You gain more of what is sown.
3. Some will desire growth until it gets challenging and then the heart will drift to something easy. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death is aborted to seek a frolic in the misty meadows. There are things about God we can only learn by walking through, being delivered through, pushing through. There are encounters with God in challenging seasons that refine our character.
4. Feelings can sometimes cloud what God has said. I cannot tell you how many people have come and stated, “God told me you were to mentor/disciple me.” Who when they got uncomfortable, “God told me to go do something else.” I am not stating you are trapped with a mentor, church, or person for life. I am stating feelings are not a good director. I have had dozens of things in my life I wanted to quit. Maybe even more. Sometimes the leader disappointed me or was quite offensive in behavior. Yet the point was to ask God, “Where do you want me?” I had a 7 year season under one ungodly leader. I learned so much about God, who I am in God, and the power of God to sustain a person in persecution. Saul teaches you something about the power and love of God.
5. Friends can sometimes struggle with honoring the leadership mantle you are required to wear. The most dishonor may come from “friends.” Hearing from you that something is off or the vision has expanded or we need to change course can ruffle some feathers. Stick to the mandate of Jesus. If He tells you to turn left and you lose friends-well keep going. Learning to abide in God and follow Him despite what others are thinking is wisdom. If you are leading “friends” understand that for some the friend just goes along and is supportive of everything. The leader answers to God for how they steward what He told them to do and who He assigned to them. It’s not personal; it’s Jesus.
6. Your heart may hurt over those where you can see their amazing destiny, yet they will not grab ahold to it and invest. You can offer copious amounts of opportunity they do nothing with it. Learn to let go and ask God to send mentees who will grab every nugget and opportunity and run with it.
7. Some may exit without even saying goodbye. Learn to hold people lightly.
8. Bless people when they come. Bless them when they go. I am happy for people when they are aligned with who and where God called them to be. No animosity. I pray and wish people the very best. It’s not personal. It’s beautiful when people are truly following Jesus.
9. Patience is your best friend. Learning to wait until God releases you to say or do something is powerful. The timing of Jesus was impeccable.
10. Keep growing yourself. Keep learning. Stay a student of Holy Spirit University. If you can find a mentor, invest in that situation. Feeding others is noble, staying fed is wisdom.
11. If you are a visionary, do not cling to everyone getting on board immediately with your vision.
Be willing to submit the vision, get feedback, and press onward with God even if the majority is not on board.
12. Cheer when people outgrow you! Yay God. Praise Jesus. Hallelujah. We want people dependent on God, not us. 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽
13. Continually ask God for His eyes, His heart for people. More than head knowledge, we need love plus God’s wisdom. God sees value in everyone. If we ask, He will provide His heart.
14. Do your best to be a good steward, yet leave the outcome to God. Some will not grow until you leave. I have had a few instances in my life where God told me to stop mentoring a few people or once a group. Years later a few came back with positive reports. At the time I felt I wasted time. I could have been doing something else besides being taken for granted by people unwilling to learn. Years later those seeds produced something good. It’s for Jesus. Regardless of the outcome, it’s for Jesus. Peter denied Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus. The disciples abandoned Jesus in His greatest hour of need. Jesus was perfect. You and I are not. Yet we can do our best and still end up denied, betrayed, or abanonded. Focus on stewardship and leave the outcome to God.
15. Continually point to Jesus. What is God saying to you? Teach people to think for themselves, yet be willing to challenge wackanoodle concepts and behaviors with Holy Spirit and the word.
16. Be willing to stand your ground even with strong personalities. God has helped me to be slow to anger and more patient. I do not yell at people nor try to push my way. I try to stay on the side of love, compassion, and meekness. This can cause people to think you are weak and a pushover. Some with dominating personalities may knowingly or unknowingly try to bully you. No! If God called you to lead, test it, and if God says no, say no. Also if you are seen as weak because you are not nasty, pushy, argumentative, angry, etc…let people think what they want. I believe you can stand your ground without being a bully, yelling, being manipulative, pushy, loud, and mean spirited. Nasty is not a fruit of the Spirit. Love is. It is possible to be firm and kind. There are moments where we need to truly be “This will not fly here,” yet Jesus was willing to die for the same people where He flipped over the tables.
Hope this helps someone. Jesus told us to disciple people. I believe this is doing life with them, not just giving them teachings. When we do life with people it can be interesting, yet Jesus did it and modeled a lifestyle of discipleship. Who are you discipling so they can grow into their greatest potential with Jesus?