SEND U blog

Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

healthy relationships
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Healthy relationships in mentoring

Editor’s note: We are continuing our blog series on mentoring using the Mentoring Pillars written by Jim Feiker. This third pillar emphasizes how important healthy, authentic relationships are to the mentoring process.

What I regret

The thing that I regret most about my earlier years in mentoring is that not every relationship was a close, healthy one. Though with some, we were meeting one-on-one, there was not that dynamic plus factor of a friendship that bonds people together for maximum mutual growth.

In those early years, I tended to be much more content-oriented and guarded in sharing my struggles and negative emotions. I was not very vulnerable with people, which greatly impacted the effectiveness of our relationship. People could not identify with me as a fellow traveler, still in process, and therefore could not easily share their own struggles. We often had a spiritual relationship, but not a holistic one. We stayed on the surface where it was comfortable and did not risk revealing ourselves to one another in love.

The greatest impact

Christian mentoring is a dynamic, intentional, incarnational relationship of trust. In this relationship, one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources to maximize the grace of God in their life and service. Mentoring best occurs in the context of these healthy, God-focused relationships and community. Here the greatest life-on-life impact occurs in each person. The very definition of mentoring is relationship – one that influences and enables people. It is a relationship of investment.

introductions and conclusions
Photo by Pascal Meier on Unsplash

Preparing to Preach: Introductions and Conclusions

Taking off and landing require a pilot’s utmost attention. Likewise, sermon introductions and conclusions demand careful preparation by a preacher. In fact, the introductions and conclusions will make or break the connection with our audience. In the introduction, we meet them coming from their daily life of the previous week. Then, in the conclusion, we send them off to live in the light of the biblical truth expressed in the sermon’s big idea. So, introductions and conclusions must be carefully worded to connect our audience with the big idea. For the simple reason that we need to know our destination before we start a journey, writing the conclusion precedes writing the introduction.

Writing the Conclusion

Conclusions Conclude

A sermon conclusion should not resemble a jetliner in a holding pattern waiting to land, or worse, aborting an attempted landing. Rather, it should briefly summarize the thrust of the sermon. An extended conclusion will frustrate our audience. It should not introduce new ideas but provide listeners memorable statements to aid in application.

selecting mentees
Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

Focus Mentoring on a Few God-given People

Editor’s note: We are continuing our blog series on mentoring using the Mentoring Pillars written by Jim Feiker. This second pillar addresses the question of how to select mentees.

God is actively, and personally in the process of bringing people into our life to whom we might minister, and who, in turn, can minister to us. Significant relationships are one of His divine change agents for life transformation. Since God will uniquely bring people into our life, we need to be sensitive to the Spirit of God in identifying those divine mentoring connections.

Ways God might connect mentors and mentees

1. The mentor proactively selects the mentee

The mentor keeps their eyes attune to people in their natural relational network to whom God is obviously leading, and seeks them out. This was true of Barnabas to Paul, Paul to Timothy, and Jesus with the Twelve. We are often drawn to people who have similar giftedness, vision, or life experiences.

Major advantages to this approach:
  • The mentee feels valued, sought after, cared for and believed in by the mentor.
  • The mentor often knows the person, and there is usually a natural relational bond.
  • The mentee and mentor very quickly sense mutual respect and the safety to share and be honest.
  • The mentor declares his commitment to help the person develop and become effective.
Major disadvantages include:
  • The mentor can easily take responsibility for the growth for the learner rather than encouraging them early in the process to be responsible for their own growth. The mentor’s role is to be a facilitator of active participation by the learner.
  • The mentor can also easily project his giftedness and vision on the person, rather than letting them develop in their own unique God-given vision and gifts.
  • The mentor can also build dependence on himself rather than on God.
illustrating and applying
Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels

Preparing to Preach: Illustrating and Applying the Big Idea

In this series on preaching for missionaries, I have stressed being students of Scripture and of our audience. This “double listening” (as John Stott calls it)1See the first post in this series. is critical for illustrating and applying the big idea of our biblical text. In fact, illustrating and applying form the key connection between the biblical truth and our listeners. Additionally, illustrations set the stage for the application in the daily lives of our audience.

Illustrating the Big Idea

Shining light on the big idea

Illustrations include quotes, anecdotes, examples, comparisons, statistics, testimony, and poetry. Sources include personal experience, news, history, literature, imagination, and the Bible. Whatever the type or source, they must shed light on the biblical truth and connect with listeners. That is, illustrations must help our audience understand and identify with the biblical truth. For instance, a quote from a book your listeners have probably not read would not make a good illustration. It is helpful to listen to traditional stories and everyday conversations to identify types of illustrations commonly used. Remember, your illustrations are the key connection between the biblical text and your listeners. So, they must be faithful to the biblical text and understandable to the people.

the mentor's character
Photo by Daniel Watson from Pexels

The Mentor’s Magnet

Editor’s note: A number of years ago, I received a CD of a dozen articles on the topic of mentoring. This collection was entitled “Mentoring Pillars” and were written by Jim Feiker. Jim and his wife Bev served with SEND International for 12 years (1988-2000) in a mentoring and training capacity. Jim passed away back in 2012, leaving behind scores of people whom he had mentored and coached. His legacy lives on in their ministries. But Jim, with editorial help from his wife, also wrote extensively about the art of mentoring.

Cross-cultural workers realize that mentoring is vital in discipling new believers and in training church leaders. As an organization, we have also become increasingly aware of the need for older missionaries to mentor younger co-workers. Those of us from the Boomer generation will soon be passing on the baton of leadership to millennials and Generation Z. So, ore multiple reasons, we all need to become more proficient in mentoring.

As I have focused my attention recently on strengthening mentoring within SEND (see my recent blog post), I revisited these “mentoring pillars.” Recognizing how full of wisdom they really are, I was surprised that I could not find them published anywhere on the Internet or in print. With Bev Feiker’s blessing, I have decided to post a number of them in our blog over the next few months.


The Mentor’s Magnet – A life manifesting Christ

Over the years God has put a particular burden in my heart for mentoring young men and women. This vision, birthed when I was 18 and discipled the first person I led to Christ, has grown and matured through my various ministry contexts with The Navigators, as a Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor, with SEND International, and now with Barnabas International. Mentoring has been a thread and primary focus in my ministry over these 50 years. I have learned most about mentoring through failure and just watching God at work in lives.

Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: A review

Most times when I read a book, it leads me to another book.  Sometimes the new read is a supporting work that is cited in the first. At other times I am intrigued to read more writings on a particular topic. Reading Gwen Adams’ newly published book Crazy Church Ladies: The Priceless Story of an Unlikely Group Winning the War Against Trafficking was no exception.  Gwen mentioned that in her years of leading church ministries, she had prioritized her spiritual growth, but not her spiritual health.  Is there a difference and why does it matter? My piqued curiosity then led me to read Emotionally Healthy Discipleship by Peter Scazzero.  In short, the book argues that spiritually healthy disciples can only be as mature and deeply rooted as their leaders and disciple-makers are.  

emotionally healthy discipleship

As I looked at the chapter titles, I immediately became aware that this book was more than a curious read and was going to be a convicting, challenging study.  The book is divided into two parts—the current state of discipleship and the seven marks of a healthy disciple.  The book begins with the personal story and experiences of Peter and his wife Geri. It will be familiar if you have read any of their other works.  In fact, this book started as a re-write of his previous book “Emotionally Healthy Church”. After realizing 75-80 percent of the content is new, he decided to change the title as well.  

developing the big idea

Preparing to Preach: Developing the Big Idea

In the previous post in this series, I emphasized that a sermon should have one main point. Now I turn to developing the big idea in the body of the sermon. Haddon Robinson explains the task in this way:

When anyone makes a declarative statement, only four things can be done to develop it. It can be restated, explained, proved, or applied. Nothing else. To recognize this simple fact opens the way to develop the sermon.

Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching, Baker: 1980, p. 79

There is a story of a preacher describing his sermon outline in this way: “First, I tell them what I’m going to tell them, then, I tell them, and finally I tell them what I told them.” While repetition and restatement have their place in preaching, this leads to boring preaching. Additionally, restatement is only one way to develop an idea and it doesn’t add much to understanding. So, how do we develop the big idea of our sermon?

Page 2 of 49

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: