Mentorship and Spiritual Parenting
You can still do all of these things that we have been sharing about very much on your own. But usually you will need someone to give you that ‘kick into the pool’. This is where the most important person in your ministry training comes into play.
That person will be your mentor. The word mentor is used loosely these days, but what exactly is a mentor? Often someone will refer to a book they have read, and they will call the author their mentor.
Did they ever meet that person? No, he may have died before you were born. So he really was not your mentor then was he? He may have been your educator and taught you and given you knowledge.
A mentor is someone who is involved with you personally. Such a person takes you and puts pressure on you and forces you. Your first mentor was the one who kicked you into the pool; the person that you probably hated. They pushed you into doing something you did not want to do.
Training under a mentor is concentrated training. It takes place for only a short period of time and it is very intense. So the first thing you need to know about mentorship is that it is time-limited.
Mentorship is never long term and it is never permanent. The work of a mentor in your life only has a short time span, and then it is over.
The work of a mentor is also goal-limited. In other words, the mentor will only take you up to a certain point until you reach a specific goal. Then their work is over.
A mentor can only teach you what they are good at. This means that it is not enough to have only one mentor in your life. You will need many mentors, and each one will take you to what they are experts in.
For a limited time they will train you until you are able to do the same skill that they are good at. Then their time with you is over and done.
How many mentors have you had in your training for ministry? This will depend on how far up the ladder you plan to go. Each new level that you move up to in your ministry could require a different mentor.
So if you thought your first mentor was bad, just wait until you reach the higher levels. You will find that the pressure increases and the deaths come more frequently.
You have to learn to change and qualify to put into practice what is needed for your ministry. So you can have many different mentors, each taking you to different levels.
Then we come to the next highest level of training, which is spiritual parenting. You need a spiritual parent, but would you like to become a child again? Usually childhood is something we hated.
Perhaps you could not wait to leave home and get away from your parents. Every teenagers dream is that they could not wait to grow up. You are no longer a child, but you are an adult and now you can do your own thing.
Then you go into ministry training, and unfortunately it starts all over again. Spiritual parenting always begins with a new spiritual relationship. This could start when you are born again. The person who led you to the Lord was a spiritual parent, because they birthed you into the Kingdom of God.
It can also take place at higher levels. It could begin with your ministry training. Or it might begin when you reach training for higher level ministry.
The difference between spiritual parenting and mentorship however, is that spiritual parenting tends to be a longer term thing. Spiritual parenting then becomes an ultimate goal.
Here is how it works. You start out as a child; you have a parent that you look up to. And as a child you might say,
“When I grow up I want to be just like my mother or father.”
The growing up part takes a long time, but eventually you reach that goal of becoming like your parent. The parent has then reproduced themselves in you. This is what a spiritual parent has to do.
Problems with Spiritual Parenting
But there are a few problems that can take place here. Firstly, spiritual parenting like mentorship, must reach a place where children break free and go through a process we call ‘individuation’. The child then becomes an adult in their own right.
When do you break free of your parent? When you have finally received all that the parent has, and have taken the image of that person. You have then finally ‘become’ that person.
Mentorship only takes one particular quality in the mentor which is being passed to the one being trained. But in spiritual parenting you want to become all that you saw in your spiritual parent. So it embraces a lot more.
But here is a problem. What if your parent has not remained static and in one place? As a child I could look up to my Dad and think,
“I would like to be just like my Dad one day. I would like to do what he does, and become like he is.”
I then set my goal in life to become like my Dad, but I find out that my Dad is also still thinking like a child and is still reaching forward to his parent. He is still progressing and aiming to go higher and higher, so he keeps changing.
How can I keep up with him? It is not enough to say you will be like your parent, but you need to set a point in time. You must want to be like your parent is at one particular point.
In most cases this is not a problem. This is because usually when we reach a place of maturity in our life, we stop progressing and we say,
“I have found my place.”
In fact, I will show you that when you reach that place is when you have found your calling. So now when you as a spiritual child reach out to become like your spiritual parent, we assume that your spiritual parent has finally found their calling.
They are now settled and continue to fulfill that calling. Then they can bring a spiritual child up to that same level.
A Parent in Process
But what happens if the spiritual parent is still progressing? I know this from experience, because I tried to bring my spiritual children up to my level. Many did extremely well, but there was a problem because I did not remain in one place.
I continued to grow up to higher levels, and did not let them go when they reached the level they were meant to. It is what they were supposed to do, so many fell by the wayside and did not continue.
Those who continued to hang on were holding on tight and being dragged on the ground, because they were not meant to hang on. They were meant to let go at the level God had called them to be.
Find Your Life Calling
So I would like to end this subject by considering how you go about finding your life’s calling. What exactly is your Life Calling? It is the most important thing of all.
What has God called you to be and to do in this world and in this life? As I said earlier, the revelation of this is progressive. Your life calling depends on how big your vision is. It also depends on God’s purpose for your life, because He has predetermined the level that you will go to.
Do not think that you can keep going higher and higher when you feel like it. God has from the beginning set a ceiling on how high you will go in your ministry calling. When you reach that calling you will know it. But when you first start out, you will not know it.
The only thing you know at the start is that you want to do ministry. You simply ‘bite’ on different things and test to see how they taste. Some of them taste good; others do not.
Often it takes years before you finally chew on something and think,
“I like this! I am going to eat it from now on.”
Apostle Les Crause