Yesterday, I had the honor of sitting on an ordination council for Jake Pratt, a friend at my church who is preparing to begin PhD studies. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the process, the council is made up of the ordained men of the church, both ministers and deacons, who question the candidate to confirm their calling and competence for ministry. I was ordained a little over two years ago, but this is the first time I’ve had opportunity to be a part of the council for someone else. In reality, my presence was really mildly ridiculous – I’ve not even hit 25 yet and here I sit on a council with a seminary professor and several men who have been humbly serving the Lord twice as long as I’ve been alive, questioning a guy who’s far wiser than me and more than 10 years my senior. Though I did ask one question of Jake, I feel like I came away from the council having taken in far more wisdom than I brought to the table.
One piece of wisdom that has particularly stuck with me was from Jake himself. When asked a question about how he feels discipleship should take place in the local church, Jake responded by talking about the importance of mentorship. The most effective form of discipleship seems clearly to be when a wiser, more mature believer (or family of believers) takes a younger person or family under their wing. Jake talked about the importance of recovering that largely lost art. As we split our churches into age-divided classes ad-infinitum, we shoot ourselves in the foot in a way by making it much more difficult for mentor-mentoree relationships to develop. Jake spoke of the importance of community and of investing our faith in others. Ideally, every believer ought to have a mentor in their life, and also one whom they themselves are mentoring. This process communicates wisdom from generation to generation, and guards against our propensity to build our theology and church practice around merely our own preferences. As you look at your journey of faith, who can you point to as a mentor in your life? Take the time to thank them this week, and also ask yourself, “Who am I investing in?” If your portfolio looks empty, perhaps it’s time to, like the servants of Luke 19:11-27, quit holding in the deposit of faith entrusted to us and look for ways to invest in those around you for the glory and the growth of the kingdom of God.