Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.Proverbs 27:17
When I was 17 years old, my Youth Pastor, Jon Davis, would preach on having good Biblical relationships with the opposite sex. I heard those messages over and over, and they helped form a Biblical view of how I should live out my life. However, when I turned 18, I started dating. I'd never had a girlfriend before, so this "relationship" was stretching me, and I felt like I had no one I could talk to.
One day, Jon Davis, Jeff Winters, and I was chatting, when Jeff asked, "Pastor Jon, what do you think of Carla? Do you think she might be the one for me?" Pastor Jon said something like, "NO, NO, NO, RUN! She is NOT THE ONE!" I was struck by the directness of his answer. Before even thinking, I jumped right into the question, "Pastor Jon, what do you think about Dalleen? Do you think she could be the one?" He answered, "If it were me, I would marry that girl." Thirty-five years have gone by, and I'm still married to Dalleen.
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.1 Thessalonians 2:8
I say all that to ask, "Whom are you mentoring and who is mentoring you? Who is in your life that you are giving advice to because they know you will be honest with them? Not just preaching a message of how a Christian should live, but having moments as Christ had with Peter when He asked him one-on-one, "Peter, do you love me?" Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you? Not only are you to have those mentoring times, but are you raising up others to do the same? I ask myself those questions a lot now, knowing that my future days of ministry are less than my former. Who can I raise up to do what I'm doing?
One thing I've learned in the last two years of traveling our state is that I know nothing about reaching a campus for Christ, but God does, and He shows us how to do it. When He does, and we are obedient, lives are changed. God’s grace is moving in communities across Oregon, and the stories must be told. A pastor should be able to tell another pastor about what God is doing in his town with a sense of encouragement instead of competition. The more I listen and allow others to mentor me, the more I grow, and the message of Christ becomes more vibrant in and through my life, and the more valuable I become to the Kingdom. He shows us how to do it, and when we are obedient, lives are changed. My son asked me a question a while back, "Dad, did you ever wonder why I threw the bat when I struck out playing baseball in my younger years?"
In that moment, floods of anger and frustration hit me as my mind raced back to a very aggravating time of my life. Of course, I did, he was such a crybaby! He went on to say, "The reason I'd get frustrated and cry or throw my bat or glove was that I felt like I failed my team." I felt like I failed my team. That statement was like iron to my head; I'm still processing it months later. Is it possible that the key to ministry in our generation is to realize we know nothing and can learn from others every day? Can we look for opportunities to mentor, but also be mentored? Pastor Jon was an obvious mentor to me at 18 years old, but Jon Bachman was also a mentor to me when he was 26 and I was 53. Who are you mentoring, and who is mentoring you?