In 2 Timothy 1:1-2, we read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (NKJV).
In our passage, Paul is old and Timothy is young, possibly a teenager and quite cautious. Timothy apparently thinks his youth is a disruption to ministry, but Paul encourages him not to allow youth to distract from his calling (I Timothy 4:12). This is such a great picture of effective mentoring. Timothy is representative of Christians today who are driven to serve God but might just be having trouble reaching their full potential.
Remember when you were a kid and you got a good grade on a test? You couldn’t wait to run home and show your family. Christian young people and new believers are often the same way. They are excited about their faith in God, but often they need someone to share their experiences and to help them know how to focus their desires to serve Him.
Mentoring provides a role for many within the church. Let’s look at a few examples:
If you have lost a spouse, parent or child, you can be of great encouragement to a believer who goes through a similar period of grief.
If you have gained victory over depression, you can have an impact on believers experiencing despair in their lives.
If you are a veteran of Christian service or even retired from Christian service (pastor, pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, etc.), you can offer wise counsel to someone just entering a similar type of ministry.
- If you struggled in your youth to understand the will of God, you can be of great support to young people who can’t seem to discover what God has in store for them.
- If you have seen God wonderfully at work in your life, you can be an encourager to young couples, new church families, teenagers, and so many others.
Young people and new believers need to learn from older Christians about: personal integrity (testimony), humility before God, scriptural principles of living, overcoming temptation, etc. All of us who have been through the fires of life have the ability to share our wisdom with others.
If you want to be a mentor, do two things: (1) ask God to prepare your heart for such ministry and (2) ask Him to send people into your life who need to be cared for by someone like you. Never forget, God isn’t finished with you as long as you have breath to serve Him.