Last week we looked at the disciplemaker as a teacher. Today we will continue looking at the different roles that a disciplemaker can have by looking at the disciplemaker as a mentor.
A mentor by definition is a wise and trusted counselor, tutor, or guide. Here are several best practices of a godly mentor.
Modeling Christlike Behavior
Paul told the believers at Corinth, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ”(1 Corinthians 11:1, CSB). Those are powerful words: “if you want to be Christlike, live the way I live.” Effective disciplemakers will not only speak words of instruction that are scriptural, they will live godly lives before those they invest in. They will model Christlike character and conduct. As someone has rightly said, “Example is not the best way to teach, it is the only way to teach.”
As you lead your D-Group, remember: your group is not only listening to what you say, they are watching and observing your manner of life to see if it’s consistent with the gospel you profess to believe.
Encourage and Affirm
Effective disciplemakers will encourage and affirm those they invest in. I love what the writer of Hebrews says:
And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
According to this passage we should not only encourage one another, we should encourage each other with a greater frequency as the Day of Christ approaches.
Take time to encourage and affirm those in your D-Group by applauding and celebrating the wins in their lives. Whether it is becoming proficient at memorizing verses, reading and journaling the Bible consistently, or overcoming habitual sin in their lives, let your D-Group know how proud you are of them. Encourage and affirm them by applauding each success and victory!
Offer Godly Counsel and Scriptural Insight
An effective disciplemaker will take advantage of teachable moments in the D-Group or as they spend time with their group members. During these times you want to share “a word fitly spoken.” You want to meet the specific need or challenge with the right counsel or insight. That requires a mind filled with scripture and a dependence on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. And as you depend on Him, He will help you recall just the right principle or insight to share.
Ask Questions and Listen
As you become better at disciplemaking and mentoring, you will learn to ask what some have called the “deep questions.” These are questions that don’t have a simple or quick answer. They are not “yes” or “no” types of questions. They will require thought and reflection. Jesus was a master at this. He would often answer a question with a question. One useful technique that I have utilized through the years has been to respond to a question by saying, “That’s a good question, what do you think?” Also, listen to those you mentor. Listen to what they are saying as well as what they are not saying. Read between the lines asking follow up questions that will help them solidify their beliefs or position on a given matter.
As you consider these “best practices” in mentoring disciples, it has been my experience that those who have been in my D-Groups look to me as a mentor during the season that we journey together as a group and sometimes long after that particular group has multiplied out. It has been my joy to maintain a relationship with many of the guys and it’s always special when we reconnect as they share all that God is doing in their lives.