The following post was written by Joe McManus.
You wake up sweating, mind racing. The enemy of sleep tells you it’s 2:30 am and that’s the least of your problems. No, this isn’t a wake up call to a flooded basement and a busted pipe above the water heater. Perhaps your finances are giving you nightmares, out of control kids with more drama than the latest Jerry Springer episode, and your wife is suffering from the latest bout of chemo. Life seems unbearable and the list of issues is a thousand miles long. How do you cope? Where can you turn for help?
The hope is that you have a relationship with God or have begun asking questions about what it means to be a follower of Christ. Either way, we’re glad you’re reading this!
God is sovereign (one that exercises supreme, permanent authority) and omnipotent (having unlimited power; able to do anything). God knows what you are going through. As a father, He wants to help you. As a follower of Christ (or soon to be one), you must reach to Him for help in strengthening your faith and trust. This is and should be very humbling! Yet it is also rewarding because saying yes to God means we say no to our sinful desires.
One of the core ways God guides us toward Him, His answers, and His love is through real, deep, authentic relationships with others. As the Holy Spirit indwells those who believe in Jesus Christ as risen Lord and Savior… we are able to offer rich godly counsel to each other. One type of real, deep, and authentic relationship is through “mentors”.
The Myth = Depending on One Mentor for All Life’s Answers
In Pastor Mark Driscoll‘s leadership video, ‘The Mentor Myth,’ (free account required to access video) he discusses the necessity for a group of special relationships, aka mentors, for specific help and counsel when needed. He also explores the issues with a single-mentor relationship.
“The myth is this: Somewhere, out there in the world, there is one person who knows everything you need to know. He can teach you, train you, encourage you, invest in you, pour into you, pray for you, develop you, nurture and save you from harm. Unless this is Jesus, you are setting yourself up to idolize and eventually demonize this person-Jonathan Edwards. Creating a functional savior will invariably lead to broken friendships where jealously, bitterness, and anger are only a few destructive forces in a single-mentor relationship.”
You may be asking, “Why do I need more than one mentor? Isn’t growing in Christ about one-on-one coaching, teaching, and pouring into me?” Fortunately God did not create us to live in a bubble, absorbing His love while relying on one person, other than Jesus, for everything.
What happens if this individual moves away, disqualifies himself, becomes hostile, or simply passes away? An emptiness soon descends upon our hearts and we find ourselves lost in pain, agony and suffering. Instead, we need specialized counsel so that we grow in Christ as God intended.
The Power & Strategy of Bullpen Mentorship
In Christian circles , mentorship is often defined as a “Let’s meet at Starbucks every week on Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am” type of relationship. Pastor Mark suggests mentorship is “about a having a specific, strategic plan for handling the issues of life with a GROUP of mentors to instruct, guide and teach you all for the glory of God.”
Pastor mark calls this a “bullpen”. With this “bullpen” strategy, you should identify men that can help with specific domains of need or growth in your life, and meet them as issues arise. Prep them for your time together by explaining what you need to discuss. Be intentional and deliberate in your requests and desired outcomes. This ensures the relationship and need are served well, and offers mutual respect and consideration for each others’ time.
Who are the men that you respect? Who are men that have gone before you and may have wisdom to offer about specific areas of your life? Approach them.
Build your bullpen!