One of the exercises we ask our in-training mentors to complete is a reflection on who has built into their lives. It is well worthwhile taking some time to think through who your mentors have been, what it is that they imparted to you, and how they did it.
Mentoring is not always intentional, neither is it always personal. Some mentors are writers, theologians, musicians and poets who have no idea of what they have contributed to the lives of others. Some have been gone for some time. One of the most influential men in my life is George Macdonald. I have learnt much from his fiction, poetry and sermons. While this is mentoring of sorts, it really doesn’t quite fit the concepts I sit most comfortably with. These include a level of relationship and intentional input toward growth.
As I think back over my life I can clearly identify 9 men who have believed in me and built into my life. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had these relationships. I was first discipled by John, fresh out of Bible College and keen to teach young people (I was only 12) the word of God. Bruce returned from working overseas with a commitment to help Christian young people think well, read widely, study the scriptures in context and share and pray together. Ray taught me a love for the Tasmanian bush, the names of alpine plants, forest trees and how to appreciate God’s amazing creation. Harrie met with me each week to pray, study Ephesians in Greek and talk about life. Another John opened my eyes to issues of justice, authentic faith and taking risks for God. It was a challenge from Sam that caused my wife and I to lay aside our plans and head away overseas to learn in China, India and then in London and the Middle East. While away a third John taught me deeper ways to read the scriptures and grapple with culture, interpretation and application. Alan taught me about peace and the call to radically rethink who we are Christians in our contemporary world. Les gave me focus as a leader and trainer to build capacity into others lives strategically for God’s kingdom.
Who have your mentors been? What have they built into your life? What will you receive as a gift and contribute to the lives of others?