Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 7
Lovingly Expose his Strengths and Weaknesses
As we near the end of our study, my desire is that your heart would have been stirred in at least one area of pastoral mentoring. If you are a young man, I hope that your heart was stirred to look for wise men that will mentor you in the faith. I also hope that a seed was planted which will cause you to strive to mentor other when it is your turn to mentor. If you are a pastor, I hope these Biblical concepts have stirred your heart to prayerfully seek to be a mentor and a guide to young diligent men preparing themselves for future ministry. If you are neither a pastor or preacher boy, I hope that you will recognize that these same pastoral principles can and should be applied within other relational spheres in the local church. I plan to cover briefly several other aspects of mentoring in future post, but for now, this leads us to my final suggestion. Lovingly expose the strengths and weaknesses of your apprentice. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful;” and Proverbs 28:23 says, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A mentoring pastor must come to the place that he will lovingly expose the strengths and weaknesses of his pupil. Having worked in the construction business for several years, I have seen the manner in which some men handle their young apprentices. Often that poor young man is the “grunt” who is severally taken advantage of. He is paid very little. He works hard all day cleaning the job site, stacking lumber, carrying shingles up a latter, and other labor intensive tasks. He has no skills, because he lacks experience, and his boss makes his life miserable. When the young man forgets a measurement, or makes a mistake there is no love but rather harsh rebuke. He will learn in time, but not nearly as effectively, as he would had his boss mentored him into that particular field of construction. Perhaps you have seen this scenario played out in real life. This is not to be the attitude of the pastor as mentor. According to II Timothy 4:2 he is to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine,” but carefully notice the spirit in which he is commanded to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. These things are to be done with a longsuffering spirit. A pastor is to be “gentle and an able teacher.” He is to take the word of God and teach from a spirit of love, humility, and patience. These wounds are “faithful wounds.” These rebukes afterwards will bring “favor.”
Unfortunately, there are some who have seen the man who abuses his position and react in disgust. There still must be times of rebuke. A pastor must refuse the inclination to react both with this harshness, or in reaction against this harshness by honestly and objectively exposing a young man’s strengths and weaknesses. We must strive for balance in this area as in every other area of mentoring. I am reminded of Titus 2:6-8 that says, “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Young men need to be exhorted in these areas, because it is not natural for them to be sober minded and grave in every area of their lives. Young men are often quick and foolish with their tongues, and they must be brought to account. I encourage you; strive to be a balanced mentor who lovingly exposes your pupil’s strengths and weaknesses. May God give us grace to listen when we are lovingly rebuked, the discernment to see others needs, and the grace and discernment necessary to effectively communicate those needs so we can properly help them.