One of the foundational assertions in The Disciple Dilemma is that everyone needs a mentor in their discipleship. Think of a mentor like a coach, or a consultant – someone who’s there to help me improve. Does a mentor actually make a difference in performance? Susan Oliver, writing for the Wall Street Journal reports that mentored employees are 19% more productive than the non-mentored employees, and the mentored population’s outperformance persists. Oliver’s claims were based on a study sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research by professors at Harvard, The US Naval Academy, Tulane and the University of Utah. But even more interesting is the finding that the people most likely to benefit from mentoring are the least likely to seek it out. Oliver reports that there are many reasons people choose not to participate. They may suspect there are no mentors with whom they would feel comfortable for cultural or gender reasons. They may feel that they aren’t good enough to be mentored, or that they are too vulnerable in a mentorship relationship, or that they don’t have the extra time it might require. They might also think that asking for assistance signals weakness. But the truth is, most Westerners do not like being mentored, and an even more interesting Western cultural phenom is that many who are supposed to be mentors do not like the idea of being one. We get mentored as kids of course – parents and relatives are always coaching us as we grow up. We get trained and educated by mentors in school and in training programs as we arrive into adulthood. But the idea of life-long mentoring? That’s a rarity in the West – not only in people having them, but especially in organizations with a culture designed to mentor people. Yet mentoring is one of three crucial development traits in discipleship: mentoring disciples, practicing discipling and replicating new disciples – who are then mentored. Is that true? Yes, scripture is full of examples of mentoring. The life of the Hebrews is full of examples (see our Mar 3, 2022 blog “A Discipleship Foreign to the West”) and we certainly see mentoring among the disciples. We will list below a few Bible references (there are hundreds!) making the case for adult disciples like you and me being mentored. In the meantime consider this haunting question: Does your Christian community have a biblically-conforming culture to mentor one another? What does that mean? What does it look like? Developing that mentoring culture is on the leaders – both formal and informal leaders in your gatherings to develop and sustain mentoring. How to do that? Welcome to The Disciple Dilemma.

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Psalm 71:18 So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

Psalm 145:4 One generation shall commend your works to another…

Proverbs 1:1-33 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: ….to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, …

Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Proverbs 27:17: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 8:27-31 Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 …we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves…

2 Timothy 2:2 …what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Titus 2:1-15  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to…

Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

1 Peter 5:5-7 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.



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What Does the Bible Say About Mentoring? (


© 2024 Dennis Allen | Morgan James Publishing

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