Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

God's purposes

Keep God’s Purposes in Mind

Editor’s note: We are continuing our blog series on mentoring using the Mentoring Pillars written by the late Jim Feiker, a former member of SEND International. This sixth pillar tells mentors that they need to remember God’s purposes for the mentee and work toward those ends.

In the process of spiritual mentoring, seeing the beginning and also the end are both of significant importance. We need to see both the way things ought to be and the way things really are now. Clarity in both where people are right now in their spiritual journey, and in where God wants them ultimately to gives us a realistic, balanced perspective.

To see only the beginning brings tolerance and grace toward a person’s humanity, but does not provide any direction in where to go. On the other hand, to see only the end purpose gives us direction. However, it may impose too high of standard (given where a person is now). It will lead to legalism and a failure to accept their humanness.

The journey between these two critical points is the process we call biblical transformation. Unless we are in sync with a person’s design (Pillar #5) and with God’s eternal purposes, we will not develop a clear God-ward perspective in our mentoring.

The purposes of God have three different aspects:

  1. God’s ultimate purposes in the universe – where he is going with his people into eternity.
  2. The universal purposes or objectives God has for every believer.
  3. His unique purposes or calling that he has for each person individually.

We need to be aware of all three of these purposes in ministering to people. This mentoring pillar will focus on God’s universal and unique purposes, and how they relate to keeping God’s ends in mind in mentoring.

Mentoring toward God’s purposes

God’s universal (common) purposes for every child of God include both his work in us and his work through us.

God’s Work in us

 What are some biblical phrases that describe God’s objectives for his work in us?

  • Loving God with all your heart (Mark 12:30)
  • Abiding in Jesus (John 15:5)
  • Knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:10)
  • Becoming conformed to his image (Romans 8:29)
  • Be transformed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18)
  • Christ being formed in us (Galatians 4:19)
  • The Body of Christ being built up, coming to unity in faith and maturity through knowing him (Ephesians 4:11-16)
  • Presenting everyone mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

These statements in their bottom line imply that God desires to see each believer to experience intimacy and a life of abiding in the Son. In other words, God wants us to know the Son intimately. He also intends that each believer become mature in Christ –to be conformed and transformed into the likeness of his Son. Namely, he wants holiness in our character, values and lifestyle. This is so that we might reveal his person, character and power, thus attracting people to him.

Wholeness

God is committed not only to our holiness (being conformed to Christ’s image), but also to our wholeness in our personhood and fulfillment of God’s unique design for our lives. Jesus does not love or value just some immaterial or eternal part of me. He loves me and unconditionally accepts me as a whole person. Christ died not only to redeem my soul. He died to redeem my whole person and body.

In their insightful book called, Love the Life you Live, Les Parrott and Neil Clarke Warren share what they believe are the hallmarks of wholeness of spiritual, emotional and mental health. They are:

  • A profound significance – being right with God.  When you are whole, you know to the very center of your being that you are greatly and unconditionally loved by God.
  • Unswerving authenticity – being right with yourself.  When you are whole, you know who you are and courageously commit to living out your true personality and God-given talents.
  • Self-giving love – being right with others. When you are whole, you know others need you, and intentionally give yourself to others on a daily basis.

God’s Work through us

 What are some biblical phrases that tell us what God intends to accomplish through us to others?

  • Christ will be exalted in our body (Philippians 1:20)
  • We are his workmanship, created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Loving our neighbor (Luke 10:27)
  • Making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Faithfully contributing God’s grace through various gifts (1 Peter 4:10)
  • Equipping God’s people for works of service (Ephesians 4:12)
  • Serving as God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • We will be ready to give an answer for our hope (1 Peter 3:15)
  • Entrusting truth to faithful people who will pass it on (2 Timothy 2:2).

 God’s work through us is to both reveal Christ in the world and build up His Body.

Mentoring to a person’s unique calling

Effective spiritual leadership is not just influencing people to do our agenda or ministry objectives. It is not projecting our spiritual gifts or vision on them. It is not even enabling people to accomplish their dreams or purpose in life. Spiritual leadership and mentoring is influencing, empowering and releasing people to align their unique contribution to God’s purposes in the Body of Christ and in the world. We must encourage them to ask and identify what God is uniquely calling them to do in relationship to his ultimate, eternal purposes. Our role is to enable people to discover their unique calling from God, and then to adapt our ministry to encourage and enable them to do it.

Mentoring for a Global Vision

Mentoring is not an end in itself. Its primary purpose is to develop disciples and spiritual leaders in every nation for discipling of the nations. A person will be limited in their growth and perspective if they do not have a global vision or Kingdom mindset for all nations. They must see, think, and pray bigger than just ministering to their own local city or culture.

 We know that “making disciples” is the major action verb in Matthew 24:18-20. But disciple-making has an object – the nations. Therefore, disciple-making becomes the strategic means to reach the world. A global view of the nations must be an integral part of disciple-making and mentoring. People must see themselves not as a bucket, but as a channel of God’s blessing to others.

Mentoring toward multiplication

Keeping God’s end in mind involves mentoring towards multiplication. So, reaching our generation and future generations is one of the end products of all mentoring. A multiplying movement is inherent in the Great Commission. Therefore, our model of mentoring needs to be easily reproducible and based on biblical principles that transfer into any culture and nation (2 Tim. 2:2).

In reaching our present generation, we need to consider not only our personal sphere of influence. We also need to help others identify their spheres of influence. This would include both non-Christians and Christians to whom they relate and will influence. These people become the key launching pad for multiplication to take place. As an effective mentor, we get to know the mentee’s sphere of influence. We know who these people are and pray for them. Furthermore, we may even reach out to them together in evangelism and discipleship.

But multiplication also impacts future generations. A movement of God moves from generation to generation through multiplication. The Great Commission is a movement to reach all nations, present and future.

Mentoring toward an eternal perspective

Keeping God’s end in mind involves mentoring toward an eternal perspective. Therefore, an effective mentor lifts a person’s visions and dreams beyond what they naturally see, or believe they can accomplish. It encourages a person to live above their own culture’s values to adopt Kingdom values, while helping them relate to and be effective in their own culture. As we lift people’s sights to a whole new level of seeing God’s point of view and eternal values, transformation occurs. Mentoring enables people to see where God wants to take them in being and doing, and then encourages them to believe they can do it in God’s strength. In other words, mentors influence people from where they are to where God wants them to be, by the work of the Spirit.

Mentoring to be responsible for growth and ministry

Keeping God’s end in mind involves mentoring to be responsible for their own growth and ministry in the community. We want people to be able to have strong wings to fly, flourish, and function in a healthy community. We also want them to have practical landing gear for living life in this world productively.

Growing toward maturity is only possible if each person in their particular community is doing his/her part in contributing to others. In other words, we grow toward maturity as we grow toward each other in unity. As mentors, our heart is to enable and release people who are able to function in healthy relationships, totally dependent on God and interdependent on others. We desire to see them feeding themselves in the Scriptures. We also want them to seek others for counsel, and surround themselves with significant people resources (Hebrews 5:14; 1 Tim. 4:7; Jude 1:20).

Four critical areas

I want to end with four critical area of formation that we need to consider, if we are going to be holistic in developing others for the Kingdom. You might have others to add.

Spiritual Formation

Spiritual formation includes developing intimacy with God, abiding in Christ and our passion and hunger for God. It also focuses on character, self-discipline, delight in and commitment to know and apply the Scriptures, and conviction about moral absolutes.

Formation in Interpersonal Relationships

This involves our theology of people – God’s view of people. Formation in this area means understanding and discerning people and developing people skills. It encompasses marriage, family and a person’s relational network.

Ministry Skills Formation

This includes a biblical view of ministry. Those who are formed in this area develop and deploy their giftedness set and effectively communicate truth and their life messages. They contextualize their ministry, develop skills in evangelism, disciple-making and other ministries, and apply biblical principles to ministry.

Formation in Strategic Direction and Focus

This involves helping people relate their giftedness, life messages, personality, life purpose, personal core values, and calling to a strategic ministry. It helps people focus on their calling from God, identifying their primary ministry, and setting boundaries in their ministry.

Mentoring people with “God’s end in mind” gives us a rudder to guide us toward God’s purposes and a clear destination of where God is moving people. Now we are ready to start interacting about how God brings a person to that destination. In Pillar #7, we will concentrate on how to utilize God’s divine resources to see the process of biblical transformation occur.

The greatness of a spiritual leader is not what he/she accomplished, but what they enabled many others to accomplish.

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Mentoring In Sync with Personal Design

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Utilizing Divine Resources for Spiritual Transformation

1 Comment

  1. You’ve done a great job here, Jim, condensing the big pieces of what needs to be pursued in a spiritual mentoring process and systematically and concisely relating to them to each other in practical ways. Thanks for your work on synthesizing what you’ve learned.

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