What is Spiritual Mentoring or Discipleship?
Spiritual mentoring is one woman deciding to be intentional in the life of another woman to help her grow to be more like Christ. It’s discipleship: a follower of Jesus training and teaching another woman how to follow Jesus.
The Bible gives us a clear model of disciple-making in the life of Jesus. He “did life” with his 12 apostles, investing in them, teaching them, and modeling for them how to live a righteous life. He brought three of his apostles – Peter, James and John – into his inner circle and spent even more time pouring into them. When he left earth after his resurrection, his parting words to his disciples and to all of us were to go and make disciples, teaching others what Jesus commanded:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
We see an example of discipleship in the relationship between Paul and Timothy. Timothy was Paul’s “son in the faith” and he spent years investing in his life and ministry to equip and train him to go and invest in others as they planted churches and proclaimed the Gospel. There’s a pattern here: each of us is to seek out someone who can disciple us, and we are in turn to share what we are learning by discipling someone else. In his second letter to Timothy recorded in the New Testament, Paul says:
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 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. 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)
In Paul’s letter to another one of his younger mentees, Titus, we receive specific instructions for the role older women are to have as they make disciples of other women. In today’s term, an “older woman” is anyone who is a little further along in her faith and walk with the Lord. It’s not a description confined only to a certain age group:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5 (ESV)
One thing we encourage you to do as you meet with the woman you are discipling is to challenge her to memorize scripture. Memorizing scripture is a crucial part of our walk with God:
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” – Psalm 1:2
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word….I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:9, 11
Scripture memorization, spending time meditating on the Word and planting it in our hearts and minds, is a daily habit that will teach, guide, and help us grow in spiritual maturity.
Below are links to four resources that give concrete, easy steps for memorizing scripture. Look through these resources, use the suggestions that seem most helpful, select 1-3 verses to start with, and begin memorizing the verse(s). You can do this with your mentee! Each time you meet, practice the verse and hold each other hold accountable; talk about what the verse means and study it together. Don’t forget the goal isn’t simply to memorize scripture, but rather to be transformed by it as you renew your heart and mind with God’s Word.
- 5 Tips for Bible Memorization from Crossway
- How to Memorize Scripture by Navigators
- Ten Tips for Memorizing Bible Verses from Bible Gateway
- Scripture Memorization Is Not a Chore from Desiring God
Here are two teachings on discipleship from recent weekend services at ACF:
Next Gen: Part 1, Will & Susie Davis – “Teaching Diligently”
Of particular interest from this teaching is Susie’s discussion of spiritual mothering and her four practical tips on how to mentor: 1) Be available. 2) Be authentic. 3) Be Biblical. 4) Be consistent.
Next Gen: Part 2, Will Davis – “Making Disciples”
In this teaching, our senior pastor focuses on what it means to make disciples. He encourages us all to teach and make disciples “as you go,” seizing on moments where you can be intentional and strategic for the Kingdom. He exhorts all of us to embrace our role and assignment as disciple-makers.
If you are feeling the nudge to mentor someone, stop thinking about it and say YES! We know from experience that both you and the woman you mentor will grow and be blessed from the experience.
Verse mapping is a neat way to teach your mentee how to study a verse of Scripture. It involves:
Personalizing the verse – Inserting your name to claim the verse as a message from God directly to you.
Reading the verse in context – Asking what is happening at the time, who is speaking or being spoken to, and how the verse relates to the verses around it.
Using a parallel Bible to read other translations – Use Biblehub.com, search for a verse, then look at the multiple translations that pop up. Consider any words that are different to help gain a deeper understanding.
Highlighting words/phrases that jump out to you
Word study of those words – Look up the words in a dictionary and see if the definition gives you any insight. You can also search for the word using Biblehub.com to see what other verses the word appears in. Looking at the original language can also help in understanding.
Cross-referencing – Cross-references are verses that have similar words or phrases. Your Bible may list them in the center column, or as footnotes at the bottom. If you use Biblehub.com there are cross-references listed on the right side of the page.
Summarizing – Put the verse into your own words, using the new information you’ve gained from studying and mapping it.
You might suggest doing verse mapping together on a verse that your mentee is memorizing to help her have a richer understanding of the meaning of the verse and the broader context of the Scripture.
Adapted from a Study Guide by Sarah Travis, as part of the Why Her? online Bible study.
To see verse mapping in action, watch a segment of this short little video by Sarah Travis of Proverbs 31 Ministries, starting at 3:50 minutes in the clip.