Submission To Mentorship

Submission to Mentorship, what does it mean to you? Is it a concept that you embrace? Or are you like many others these days that feel it is unnecessary and old fashioned.

We have examined the concept of mentorship previously in this book, but here I want to delve into this subject a little more deeply.

First and foremost, let me say here that just in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I am unabashedly unashamed to say that mentorship is absolutely essential if you wish to grow in your walk with CHRIST. Was that direct enough for you? I know that may sound harsh to some, but it is quite certainly true.

I like many others am most assuredly a product of mentorship. And while I am not without an abundance of faults, I know for sure that I would not be where I am today had it not been for my mentors, both physical and spiritual.

What does the Bible have to say about idea of mentoring? Is it a process or principal supported within the pages of the Word of GOD?

Take a look in the Word, see if you can find the words mentor, mentorship, or mentoring. Did you find it? No, I don’t think you did, but that doesn’t mean mentorship isn’t in there. In fact, it is quite the opposite actually. The Bible is absolutely full of examples of mentorship. Here are just a few examples, JESUS and HIS disciples, Paul and Timothy, Elijah and Elisha, Barnabas and Paul, Naomi and Ruth, Moses and Joshua, Eli and Samuel, Paul and Titus, are all examples of the mentorship relationship and the ways in which GOD inspired each of them to mentor another individual and help each one to develop and accomplish GOD’s plan for their life.

When you think about Moses and Joshua, somehow mentorship isn’t quite the first thing that comes to mind. But the real questions are why not? Here we have a man chosen by GOD HIMSELF, who regularly spoke with GOD, a man who would lead a people from captivity to becoming a nation. Sounds like a mentor to me. Then we have Joshua a man who chose to submit to the authority of a man called by GOD to lead. He was the man Moses placed in charge of the Battle with the Amalekites. A man who would eventually come to lead the very same people.

Again, all throughout scripture time and time again, mentorship is clearly displayed through the lives of numerous biblical figures. From the beginning, Adam was clearly mentored by HIS creator. Isaac and Jacob were both mentored by their fathers. JESUS himself mentored the disciples, and Paul clearly was a mentor to Timothy among others. In fact, there are so many examples we could not come close to identifying all of the individuals who submitted to being mentored.

Consider Elijah and Elisha. Here we have a man in Elisha who served his “master”, all the while being mentored by the Prophet Elijah. And what did he receive as his mentor was being carried away in a fiery chariot? A double portion. Exactly what he asked for. Have you ever wondered however how he was able to operate in that anointing? He was mentored. He had been trained, and he had witnessed the demonstration of that anointing countless times before. Clearly, it was The HOLY SPIRIT working through Elisha, but it would be absurd to think that years of mentorship and training did not play a major role in Elisha’s ability to accomplish and fulfill the calling of GOD in his life.

When I consider giving GOD all that I am with regard to submission to mentorship, one thing stands out in my mind. In a word, Armorbearerment, a noble, and honorable calling which has been largely forgotten, or set aside as irrelevant by many leaders and lay people within the Christian community. Simply put, Armorbearerment is a call to service, and mentorship. As an armorbearer I have been called by GOD to serve another. Now understand I am not speaking of human servitude, rather I serve GOD by serving another. Suffice it to say that while the duties of an armor bearer may be different depending on the leader to whom you are serving, it generally will include a wide variety of tasks or assignments depending on both the mission at hand, and the maturity of the armor bearer. Both physically and spiritually. It should also be noted here that this is not a one-way relationship. The leader, who accepts the responsibility of being a mentor, serves as well. He serves GOD by serving those to whom GOD has entrusted to his care. A good leader will be one who performs several essential requirements to aid in the processing of GOD’s servants. Instruction in the Word of GOD will freely be imparted. Correction and rebuke according to the Word will help to keep the armor bearer on track. Discipline will be taught by word and deed; his example will prove to be a road clearly paved by which the armor bearer will be able to not only follow but replicate that which has been demonstrated. It will help the armor bearer to grow in maturity and serve him well as he moves into his own purpose and calling. Counsel will give direction in a time of need. Above all else, LOVE, it will be evident in all that your leader does. Love for GOD, and for those that he serves. These are but a few of the characteristics of a godly mentor. There are simply too many to list here, but let it be said that I have been blessed with a leader, and mentor who embodies all of these characteristics and more. He has helped me immensely in so many ways that I can hardly imagine where I would be without the mentorship that he has provided.

Now I know that there are those out there, Christians, and non-believers both, who will simply see with their physical eyes, men or women standing around their GOD-appointed leader, and with that attitude, they will never understand the fullness of what GOD is doing. That’s right; I have heard it all. People thinking that we are “bodyguards”, or “that the leader is so egotistical that he has to have all these people follow him around”. These things, and so much more, are said by those who simply have no understanding of the leader / armor bearer relationship, and sadly, they will never be able to experience the blessings of that relationship either unless they change their attitude and thinking.

Allow me if you will to share my journey of mentorship and Armorbearerment thus far. It may prove helpful to some, and let you know that you are not alone.

My journey began by simply attending my church. You see the vision given to the Pastors of my church is to “Raise up leaders in these last days”. I may not have known it day one sitting in the last row of the church so that no one would see me, but GOD had plans for me. Soon I had moved from my seat in the back row to a middle row seat on the side of the sanctuary. This was later followed by a “big move” down toward the front. Yes, even in this GOD was moving in my life. Don’t think this is true? Take a look at your church and see if those, who are sitting in the back, have been there a while? My guess is that they have. Anyway, back to my story. Now while I may have been moving forward in my selection of seating, I certainly wasn’t moving forward with regard to my submission to what GOD was calling me to do. You see I knew that I was being called to assist in laboring in the ministry. We have an extremely anointed and well-disciplined group of men who serve as ushers, as well as serving on our security team. I knew that GOD was pressing me to submit and volunteer, but I made every excuse in the book. Oh, I argued with myself, and GOD. I was a Director at work, and they often called needing assistance. “How could I possibly volunteer, I might get a phone call and have to run off to work”, or “My schedule simply won’t allow me to serve.” These and so many more “excuses” flooded my mind. I had been a part of this ministry for three years. My wife and oldest son ignored my poor example and volunteered to serve with the Children’s Church ministry. Finally, I surrendered to GOD, came to my senses, and apologized to my Pastor for not doing what I know GOD called me to do. He was so gracious; he listened to my apology and forgave me even though he said one was not necessary. I suspect he had heard it a thousand times before from others in my situation. He often told me (and I am paraphrasing here) that this is a “volunteer army”; GOD does not force anyone to serve HIM, and neither do we. It was here that I began to learn discipline and teamwork like I had never known before. These men, who served in these various positions, took them seriously. Each one had submitted to the protocols that had been established and were committed to serving GOD by serving others. I was truly amazed by their commitment. All of it predicated on two guiding principles. “Don’t talk about your brother behind his back”, a simple thing, yet so many in today’s society lack the integrity and honor to sit down with their brother when problems arise and speak to each other with respect like men. Instead, they opt for gossip and division among the brethren. (See Proverbs Ch. 6:16 and Rom. 16:17) This simple rule provided the basis of trust in one another which makes them truly remarkable. Secondly, “Not on my watch”. This absolute commitment to personal integrity and discipline to perform one’s duties with the singleness of purpose that declares that nothing will happen to anyone or anything on “my watch” defines who we are, and more importantly whom we serve. These are just some of the things that began to mold and shape my thinking, and my life. I began to change in the way I looked at my other commitments, and to prioritize things in my life. Not based on what I considered was important, but what GOD considered important in my life. In essence, my life began to change, to transform.

Now don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of things that sure needed a lot of work. One of which was my ability to simply hear the voice of GOD and obey. We all must hear GOD for ourselves my Pastor would say, my mind racing back to my childhood hearing similar words coming from my own father’s lips. And it is absolutely true, but it takes practice, and it also takes a willingness to obey when you hear GOD. That’s where I was having some issues. You see for six long months GOD was calling me to Armorbearerment, and I knew it! I also knew that just like before I was making excuses. I wrestled with my own mind and with GOD every day. Back and forth I would literally go back and forth in my mind until I could no longer take it. I finally said, “ok GOD I’ll do it, I submit to Your will for my life.” Little did I know it would be one of the best decisions of my life.

Again, I came to my Pastor and apologized (sound familiar), and I explained what had been going on for the last six months. I also explained my desire to serve as an armor bearer. We spoke for a while, and he handed me a book called, “GOD’s Armor bearer” by Terry Nance, and said to go and read it, and if I still wanted to proceed, he would give me the accompanying volume two. I did proceed on to read both volumes several times. It gave a clear and concise introduction and explanation of what being an armor bearer is all about. Then after meeting with my Pastor again, he asked me something that surprised me at the time, but later I began to understand why he asked that question. He asked me for permission to mentor me. What a strange thing to ask I thought at the time but now, I understand. With all that transpires within a leader/armor bearer relationship, I had to willingly submit to this training. It had to be a conscious decision on my part to allow him to begin the mentoring process. And make no mistake it is a process. It will take time. Some shorter, some longer but this is a process that is measured over many years, not weeks or months. Now I believe that no matter what you may ultimately be called to do, once you are an armor bearer, you are always an armor bearer. It is not what you do; it is who you are. And so, began the process of mentorship in my life. Armorbearerment has been a wonderful, fulfilling, challenging, life altering experience for me, and it continues to this day. Maybe one day The LORD will have me to expound in greater detail about the nuances of Armorbearerment, but for now let me say that it is truly a remarkable calling. The Bible speaks clearly about the ministry of helps in 1 Corinthians 12:28

“And GOD has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”

And the concept of servant hood and faithfulness, sacrifice and dependability seems to be a thing of the past, or at least something that doesn’t apply to church anymore. The desperate need in all sorts of Christian ministries is for those who will dedicate themselves to the ministry of helps, a rather inglorious and inauspicious sounding title, but it is listed in order right after miracle and healing ministries in the above text of scripture. The Greek word translated “helps” means “to lay hold of, so as to support.” In other words, a minister of helps is someone who commits himself to another ministry in order to support and assist in any way he or she can. Does this sound like an armor bearer to you? It certainly sounds like one to me. Is Armorbearerment the only method by which one can be mentored in this Christian life? Certainly not. In fact, Armorbearerment is not for everyone. GOD may have a different method in mind for your mentorship. But mentorship clearly lines up with the Word of GOD and is essential I believe to the development of every Christian. The Bible calls us babes in CHRIST when we are new believers. But who wants to remain a babe? No, we want to grow and mature. It is in all of us, part of our spiritual DNA if you will. We want to experience all that GOD has for our lives. This growth requires guidance, correction, help, and encouragement. Sure, sounds like mentorship to me. Submit to GOD’s calling upon your life through mentorship. Find a GODly mentor who will help you to become all that GOD wants you to be. This may be one individual or more but find the ones that GOD has selected for you. Just ask HIM, HE will most certainly guide you to the right mentor(s) set apart just for you.