Ask For Help

“First pride, then the crash– the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” Proverbs 16:18 (MSG)

It has been said of lawyers that “a man who represents himself in a court of law has a fool for a client.”  The same could be said for the minister who charges out into the front lines of ministry believing he or she can fight the fight, win the race or bring in the harvest ALONE.
One of the best ways to spend time early in any ministry is to locate one or more quality mentors that can serve as your role models and guides in your service position.  In medieval days, young men would serve for many years in an “apprentice” role before ever assuming any kind of leadership position.  And yet today we’re completely comfortable with taking a young man or woman straight out of Bible college, at the ripe and mature age of 22 or 23 years of age, and allow them to be thrust into associate or senior pastor roles, with little or no guidance, accountability, or supervision.  Now you tell me… how intelligent is that?  I’ll answer for both of us… NOT!!!

However, we live in the present, not medieval days.  This is now, and the way things are probably will continue to be the way things are.  That is what makes the idea of mentoring so much more valuable.  If many churches and other ministries ARE going to have young or inexperienced men or women in leadership roles, then everyone wins if those same young men or women are being quietly discipled, nurtured or guided by an older, more experienced mentor.

The difficulty is that mentors don’t usually approach young disciples with the statement, “Hey there, young and ignorant person!  I would like to serve as an advisor to you, to keep you from making foolish and ridiculous mistakes in your life and ministry!”  And even if they did, can you imagine how such an approach would be received?!  No, for this to work, then YOU, the minister who is just starting out, will need to make that initial approach.

OK, you’ve read this far, which means you’re open to suggestions, right?  Well, here are a few considerations in finding a good mentor.

  • Start looking right away… finding a quality mentor can take some time, so the sooner you begin the search, the sooner you’ll begin receiving the benefit of their experience;
  • Take your time in choosing a mentor… that’s right, I said take your time.  Better to wait a few months and find the right compliment to your own ministry style and your personality, than to quickly hook up with someone that you find out almost as quickly that is going to be more of a liability to your ministry and growth than an asset;
  • Establish some basic expectations from each other.  These might include a regular meeting time, a specific list of questions concerning areas where you seem to need the greatest amount of help, and some measure of accountability towards each other in your own spiritual walks.

 

Another area where many inexperienced clerics (fancy word for ministers) find themselves in trouble concerns the overestimation of their own abilities.  In other words, you or someone like you got in over their head in a particular area, and now they’re struggling against the tides of doubt and the winds of adversity, about to be overwhelmed.  If or when you find yourself in this predicament, the quickest way out of trouble in this area is to recognize immediately that you are in over your head, and you need help.

One dimension where this is extremely critical is in the area of counseling.  No one would dare question that as a minister your heart goes out to the broken spirit that desperately lays their emotional catastrophe at your feet.  Any person who genuinely possesses the heart of Christ feels compassion for the depressed, the desperate and the down-and-out.  But feeling for them is one thing, and being able to help them is something completely different.  Consider this…  I may have genuine sympathy for your father as he faces the prospect of open heart surgery; however, would you consider allowing me to operate on him based on my sympathy, if it wasn=t backed up by a medical degree and training as a heart surgeon?  NO!  Such is the case with many of the emotionally wounded people who have and will walk through the doors of your study.

Yes, Jesus is the Great Physician. He can heal anyone of anything.  That said, realize this… I said “Jesus” is the Great Physician, not you.  And although He has the power to do what He will, when He will, He also has the freedom to minister HOW He will too.  And many times that ministry comes by means of a professional counselor, medication, or even time in a treatment center.

This does not mean that you are a failure as a minister if you can’t “heal” every troubled soul by reading the right Bible verse or praying the right prayer.  It just tells you that God has chosen to bring healing through a different vehicle.  And that choice is His, not ours.  So be sensitive to those situations where you may see that the person in your office has greater needs than you can meet.  Encourage them to call a professional counselor, a therapist or a physician; or if they will let you, then you do it for them.

Remember, the ultimate goal here is to do whatever you can to help that individual either come to know Christ, or come to know Him better.  Each player on a sports team plays a different but vital part in the team’s success.   Similarly, you may need other players on the team when you see that you do not possess the spiritual gift, skills, talents or education needed to meet the most desperate needs of those people God brings you into contact with.

Finally, see the joy in the process of your ministry, not just in the end results or big events.  Remember, Jesus told us that He came that we might have abundant life… that means living life to the fullest!  When you really own this philosophy, you are much freer to focus on God’s involvement in your life and the lives around you than you are on your own performance.  This opens you up to inviting the comments, encouragements and even critics of your ministry to observe and involve themselves in your journey as well.

 

Questions to Discuss with Your Mentor

  1. How did you find your first mentor?

 

 

 

 

  1. Have you ever asked for help?  When were you really desperate for it?  Why?

 

 

 

 

  1. What should I be careful about when asking for help from others?

 

 

 

 

Personal Learning Activities

  1. What one thing might keep me from asking for help if I really needed?

 

 

 

 

  1. What qualities are important to me when thinking about a mentor in my life?

 

 

 

  1. The top three people in my life whose counsel I respect are

1. __________________  because he/she _____________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

2. _________________  because he/she ______________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

3. _________________  because he/she ______________________________

____________________________________________________________

 

 

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