When I was with my former group, I was given the task to create a mentoring program. I enthusiastically began the project, but after a few months, it was clear that the program was not reaching its stated goals. Although mentors and mentees were assigned and regular group meetings were held, the entire program began to falter. Paired mentors and mentees met sporadically, if at all. Attendance at the group meetings dwindled. There were competing activities and mentors complained that there was not enough time to invest in the mentees. I complained to the leadership, the very ones who wanted the mentoring program. Instead of enthusiastic support, I received a passive-aggressive reply that they would look into it. It was becoming very clear to me that the only reason the leaders wanted a mentoring program was to enhance their own recruiting efforts. They never truly wanted anyone to replace them. They only wanted to make the group appear more attractive to young and naive new hires.
It was an abject failure. For many years, I harbored bitterness about the experience and toward the leaders. Countless hours and innumerable meetings and for what? After about two years, the entire project died a quiet death. Ironically, word of the mentoring program reached the ears of some of the leaders of our national governing body. One of them telephoned me and asked me to share my experiences with him and to consider sharing it with his committee in the hope of creating a national mentoring program. I politely declined the offer and told him that, while the concept of a mentoring program was invaluable, any mentoring program would be doomed to failure unless one thing happens. “You need the leadership to support it!”
The Bible gives us many examples of mentoring. Gamaliel and Paul, Paul and Timothy, Peter and John Mark, Jesus and His disciples. One of the earliest examples is Moses and Joshua. Very early in Moses’ leadership, he was already preparing his God-chosen successor, Joshua.
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
Exodus 33:11 (ESV)
Joshua is introduced with little fanfare but as the wandering of the Israelites continues, Joshua assumes a greater role. Eventually, when Moses is about to die, all of Israel knew that Joshua was his successor.
Any successful mentoring program needs to have the leadership support it. Moses, through God’s guidance, carefully groomed Joshua as His successor. When Joshua succeeded Moses, God blessed the transition and led Joshua to numerous military successes. It was a godly transition and it was successful because the leader supported it.
All Christian believers have a responsibility to mentor the next generation of Christians. It does take time and commitment, but we should never waver in the task. Our inspiration and motivation come from Jesus Christ. We never have to second guess the motivations of our leader. He is Sinless. He is Sovereign. He is God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.