From Mission to Mentorship

One of the reasons I love being a missionary is its a constant adventure and anything but boring.  The moment you reach a point of success in ministry the Lord presents a new challenge or burden to pursue. While this can be a discouraging process sometimes it is an incredible blessing to know the Lord is using us for His Glory.  But it also means that missionaries are used to being pushed out of their spiritual comfort zones quite often.

Since early 2010 I have been focusing my time and energy on getting involved helping those with needs in the community of Craigieburn.  With the Lords help I am now volunteering in six (maybe seven soon) different ministries during the week.  These opportunities have allowed me to develop close relationships with those individuals and share the Gospel, as well as have many conversations about the Lord.

A part of me was satisfied with the missional form of ministry since the Gospel was shared in close relationships.  But a few weeks ago God began leading me to take the next step towards mentorship.  This is actually what most of us would view as discipleship, but mentoring or apprenticeship are words that fit the Australian culture better.

Mentorship would involve meeting one on one and using the Gospel (along with other Scriptures) to who their need of Christ.  The focus with volunteering would be on meeting their physical needs whether its having a conversation with someone who is on a Dialysis machine for more than four hours, or giving food to someone who is $800 behind on last months rent.  But mentorship goes deeper than the physical need and deals with their heart and where these individuals place their hope.

Very few people take the step from Mission to Mentorship in their relationships with the unsaved.  This is because the mentor relationship isn’t nearly as comfortable or enjoyable as the missional.  It’s easy to give them cup of coffee and have a conversation about God, but sharing the Gospel in a direct way that convicts their heart scares us.  To be honest becoming a mentor scares me as well, in fact it probably strikes fear in all of us.

That fear is what keeps most Believers (myself included) trapped in the Missional relationships that focus on friendships and showing the love of Christ instead of discipleship, which shares the message of Christ.  But we all (again myself included) must make that uncomfortable transition because its only through the Gospel and Faith in Jesus that unbelievers can be saved.  Yes the Gospel can be shared in a mission relationship, but its usually done in a non-confrontational fashion since we emphasize the love of Christ.

So how do we make this transition?  By allowing the Lord to lay a burden upon our hearts for one person who we can become a mentor to instead of a missionary.  For me that is a senior in High School name Abdul who is struggling over what to do next year in University.  I am trying to mentor him by helping with final essays and reports, giving advice about his freshman year, and sharing how God helped me as a freshman.  For you it could be neighbor, friend, co-worker, or loved one.  Whoever it is I pray that you would join me in finding one individual to make the painful transition from Mission to Mentor with, and then begin looking for others.

Because of Who He is,

John Wilburn

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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