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Mentoring // Ben Davis

This post is a part of the Dancing Jesus: Mentoring in the Church blog series that will be ongoing through the month of September. You can read about the series and view the schedule here. You can subscribe to all of the posts here.

If I were to be completely honest, I would say that I am struggling to write this post for
two reasons.

  1. First of all, I don’t know if I am going to say anything that hasn’t already been said. Even within this blog series I am sure that others have come up with better thoughts and have said them in a more inspiring way.
  2. I think the second reason I am struggling to write this is because I can’t say that I have really ever had a mentor. How can a mentor-less person write about mentoring?

In being asked to write about mentoring I can only write from personal experience. It has not been until recently that I have begun to think of mentoring, or the lack thereof, as a problem. I don’t have a mentor at this moment, nor do I see one coming on the horizon. For myself (and I am sure many others), this is a problem and will continue to be one until the Church decides to get it right.

Let me say quickly that even though I love the Church, throughout my entire life I have watched it lag “behind the times” when it comes to any number of subjects. Think about the last 20 to 30 years when it comes to leadership, children’s ministry, music, young adults ministry, social media, and social justice issues in the Church. Now think about mentoring. Let me say that I think we are hurting badly in this area, and we have a lot of work to do.

The fact that we have been talking about mentoring for a month tells you that there is something that needs to be addressed. We all can go about pointing the finger at those above us for not “doing their jobs,” but I think we all know that is not going to bring a solution. So how do we go about addressing our mentor problem?

In order to begin to fix the Church’s mentoring problem I believe that we must get back to having Christ at the center of all we do. Where mentoring is lacking in the Church it is partly because Christ is secondary. Entertainment, creativity, and trendiness cannot create disciples of Christ. It is so easy to slip into the practice of running the ins and outs of a church and unintentionally neglect the long and arduous process of walking through life with individuals. I believe that if the Church was to refocus on Christ as central we would see an increase in mentoring, because Christ himself so closely mentored his disciples. Understanding what Christ has done on the cross should spur us to love Him and then to love our brothers, i.e., mentor those God has placed in our lives.

Any thoughts? Am I right? Has this proven true in your life?

Ben Davis is a youth pastor in the inner city of Pittsburgh, PA. He blogs at
iambendavis.com and you can follow his Twitter account here. Ben has been married
to his wife Abbie for 6 years and is 27 years old.

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  • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

    Ben,
    I like your take here on how part of our need to move towards mentoring is to be more Christ centered. I can also resonate with spending a lot of time feeling like one’s not been mentored, or when mentored mentored poorly (I get at that in my guest post later this week! shameless plug… *ahem*)

    I guess one thing that I’d offer is that on top of being more Christ centered, maybe we need to evaluate what it means to do church if it is not producing mentoring/discipleship. Is it possible that the form we take may be getting in the way of actually promoting relational/mentoring type growth? These are the sorts of questions I am constantly asking myself.

    • http://iambendavis.com @iambendavis

      Bryan I would agree and often have the same questions you do. What is a successful Church?

      Is it all about quick growth?
      Or is about lasting growth?

      Often I think churches just model what larger churches are doing, thinking that, doing that is disciplining people. For each church mentoring is going to flesh out a little differently.

  • http://iChilly.com Chilly

    Hindsight can be a good thing, particularly when it gives us clarity or direction on how to approach things in the future. But at times it can also be a little painful, especially when you look back at a situation and think, “If only I’d known back then what I know now.”

    How can we know in advance the lessons that only hindsight seems to teach us? I actually believe we can gain the kind of knowledge that sets us up to win, by accessing the wisdom of those who have walked the road before us. The Message version of the Bible tells us to: “Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honouring God.” (James 5:10)

    • http://iambendavis.com @iambendavis

      I like those thoughts Mr. Chilton.

  • http://simplydondrae.blogspot.com Dondrae

    What’s up Ben! I think you did a good job writing on this topic. I, too, did a blog post on mentoring and how crucial it is. My perspective was from a general/life standpoint. I like the point you made when you said, “Entertainment, creativity, and trendiness cannot create disciples of Christ.” Church folk are busy trying to find BFF’s rather than Mentors that create very intentional Life on Life relationships. Great Job Man! Keep it up!

    ~Dondrae

    • http://iambendavis.com @iambendavis

      Thanks for the encouragement! Btw I check your blog… I like.

  • http://afterthethrillisgone.blogspot.com/ jason

    Great topic. I am the product of 3 mentors. It seems God would place them in my life at just the right time. One helped me in a process of recovery from substance abuse, one ushered me into a ministry calling and got me on the right track early, and one is still in my life, challenging me in the area of organizational leadership and sexual integrity.

    All three were completely organic, not a part of any program. One was a Christian dude I met while mountain biking. The other two I met at church. All three were men of God who willingly served their fellow man as God led. I’m following in their example through young worship leaders and musicians that I encounter and see potential in.

    I don’t think we can blame the corporate church for this failing. We should blame Christians who think this stuff is just for them. And maybe the local church could help. They could breed a culture of mentor relationships by teaching on it and encouraging it. But to be honest, if my mentors were a part of a program or something, I would never have found mine. They were friends, brothers, and mentors… and they still are all three to some degree. It is by far one of the most beautiful things I have to look back on in my life, and as I acquire “mentee’s,” it becomes even more beautiful.

    It’s a great conversation, but in the end I would call Christian men and women to invest in one another on a personal, tangible, visceral level. Take risks, love unconditionally, challenge, bestow responsibility, partner, cry, yell… and the best thing to do w/ mentors is to drink beer and smoke cigars together. NOTE IT!

    • http://iambendavis.com @iambendavis

      I think I would get in trouble with the wife if I said I agree with you 100% only because of the drinkin beers and smokin cigars, but truth be told I like what you had to say Jason! Thanks for reading and being a part of this convo!

      • http://afterthethrillisgone.blogspot.com/ jason

        my wife doesn’t like it either, but I do! Ha! And she knows I’m a better man from the time spent talking over a frosty brew. how else do you get a dude to sit and talk to another dude? A cigar is a guaranteed 1-3 hr conversation!

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