The Heartbeat

2 Timothy 2:2 is one of those "go to" verses dealing with what you should be doing as a pastor. There Paul, in writing Timothy, says, "And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." Call it mentoring, or discipling, this is where it is worth spending time as a pastor.

I long ago lost track of how many men I have met with through the years. Most of them I met with one-on-one, but sometimes it was in a setting of several men. I never mentored any women. Ruth has mentored women, and I have been fine leaving it like that.

So what is this mentoring or discipling like? The answer to that depends a lot upon the individual you are mentoring. Some men are students: avid readers and thinkers. Others are not. Some might take up a challenge to memorize scripture; for others that seems like a hopeless cause. So you start with them, figuring out who they are, how serious they are in regards to growing, seeing how disciplined they already are, etc. And then you go from there.

Generally, I have found, this mentoring kind of relationship lasts about 1-2 years and then it tends to die. That probably has been because of me. I "shot my wad" within the first year or so and so could not come up with much more to say, and they probably sensed that. The reading of books with one another has proven very helpful. Indeed I would highly recommend that. It not only furnishes a means for you (the discipler) to read some of those books that you likely should have read long ago, but these books, with what has been written in them, serve as an excellent springboard to jump off of into all kinds of discussions. Looking back, I probably have read 70 or 80 books with other men. C.S. Lewis (whose book, God in the Dock, is a great book to read with someone willing to go deep) once wrote, "Don't spend your time reading good books…when there are great books yet to be read." That is the truth. The "good" books take just as much time to read as the great books but give you so little to chew on.

And just as you don't want to waste time with "good" books, you don't want to waste your time with those who have little interest in moving ahead. I recall, now many years ago, meeting with a younger fellow who told me of how he really wanted to be discipled. So, at the end of our first meeting, I recommended we begin by reading the gospel of Luke. I said something like, "Let's read just the first 5 chapters and next time we'll discuss those chapters." When we met again, a week or two later, he had not yet read those chapters. To me that was a HUGE RED FLAG. But I showed grace and recommended that we again, read Luke 1-5 for our next meeting. That next meeting never came for he could not even find the time to read that very minimal reading.

So, those who don't read, or those who show up late, or those who seem to always need to cancel…watch out for them and don't let them rob you of time that might be spent with "faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

By His Grace,
Doug Winne

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