Since 2000, over 140 guys have been ‘radically mentored’ around my dining room table. Around the world, another 5,000 guys have had a similar experience. Some mentor poured his cup into their cup. And those guys made a covenant commitment to pour their cups into some younger guys’ cups . . . when God lets them know they’re ready. Some are now paying it forward. Some are waiting. Some are procrastinating.
Waiting is what you do when something has started but hasn’t yet ended. If you’re just riding around, going nowhere, you’re never stuck in traffic. The thing has to have begun if you’re waiting. And there has to be an end or a next step. In Finding My Way Home, Nouwen says . . .
“We too can wait only if what we are waiting for has already begun for us. Waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is a movement from something to something more . . . Those who wait had each received a promise that gave them courage and allowed them to wait. They received something that was at work in them, a seed that had started to grow.”
If the ‘seed’ of making disciples and disciple-makers was planted in you, through Radical Mentoring or some other way, a process started. You may be waiting to lead a group, but you’re procrastinating if you’re just sittin’ and soakin’ and not engaging anyone about Jesus . . . building at least one relationship for spiritual purposes. Investing in someone to help them move a step in their faith journey.
It’s so tempting to play it safe and do nothing for anyone else’s soul. After all, “I have my church, my Sunday School class or small group, my Bible, my salvation, my Heavenly Father to walk through life with.” All about ‘me and mine.’ Except Jesus didn’t point us toward me and mine. He said we should abandon ourselves . . . even our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters for the sake of others. For the sake of their souls. For the sake of the Gospel.
Start with prayer. Ask God who He wants you to engage. You might already have a clue. Then start to pray for them intentionally. It’s amazing how God can change the heart of someone we pray for consistently. And you find that as you pray for someone, it’s easier to love them. You can’t minister to someone you don’t love. Praying leads to loving.
And then look for opportunities to serve them. Unconditionally. Don’t make them a project, just make them the focus of your attention and acceptance. Little by little, God may warm your heart and theirs. They won’t care to know about your faith, your God, or anything else until they know you care about them. Let God lead wherever He wants. If it’s inviting them to go to church, join your mentoring group, do a Bible study, go on a short-term mission trip, or maybe just have coffee every couple of weeks to talk about God stuff. “Wherever you lead Lord. I will follow. And I want to take this friend with us. Show us where You’d have us go.”
Something changes in us when we invest in others for Kingdom purposes. It’s not why we do it, but it’s a sweet side benefit of following Jesus and not procrastinating.
Scripture: You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (2 Timothy 2:22)
Mentor Tip: As a mentor, it’s not your responsibility to ‘manage’ when and where your mentees pay it forward, but if you notice they’re ready to do so but just procrastinating, it’s ok to give them some encouragement . . . maybe all they need is a little push . . . in love from someone who poured into them.