We might have mentoring all wrong


December 6, 2012 by eimrick

We might have mentoring all wrong.  Or at least I might.  I’ve been thinking about mentoring in a way where I sit with one guy who will invest in me or I invest in one guy who I then sit with.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  No, but might Jesus have shown us a different model to consider?

I’ve been looking through Jesus model for disciplemaking (mentoring) and I’m noticing that the majority of the time Jesus isn’t meeting with just James or just John or even just Peter.  Rather, we hear over and over in the gospels that Jesus was with Peter, James and John.  Why is he always working with three at a time rather than one at a time?

Although it’s never in John’s gospel, Peter, James and John appear together 5 times in the synoptics:

1.  The Trasfiguration (Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, Luke 9:28)

2.  The Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26, 37; Mark 14, 33)

3.  The raising of Jarius’ daughter (Mark 5, 37; Luke 8, 51)

4.  The healing of Peter’s mother-n-law

5.  Jesus’ “little apocalypse” (Mark 1, 29-31 and Mark 13)

Do we have a lot of scenarios where we see Jesus only discipling only one of the three?  I know John 21 shows Jesus seeking out Peter to get him “back in the game” after denying him, but in every day discipleship?  Look up references and post them on this site.

I might be missing something here.  I meet with guys often one on one and find a lot of value in that, but what if I began combining my discipleship efforts to meeting with 3 guys at a time on a regular basis?  What might be some of the benefits of 3 to 1 discipleship rather than 1 to  1?

Here are some thoughts off the top of my head:

1.  Growth in an individual can continue to grow outside of the meetings with a mentor

2.  Having 3 guys means that accountability can more naturally happen

3.  All 3 guys bring different experiences, gifts and passions that spark further discussion and growth

4.  The discipleship relationship is less likely to fizzle out when more are involved.

I’m not advocating that “the more the better” scenario, but Jesus had his three that he really heavily invested in so I might want to consider that approach as well.

Why didn’t he have just one or two or even six or twelve?  I don’t know and would like your thoughts.


5 thoughts on “We might have mentoring all wrong

  1. Anne Mendheim says:

    I agree. I have so little time for one-on-one anything. Parenting, discipling and even cultivating friendships has happened in stereo for me for years. Perhaps because the harvest is plentiful and there are only so many hours in the day. Jesus must have felt those demands too and that’s why I believe his best method of discipleship was “doing ministry together”. He included James, John and peter as well as the other disciples in what he was doing and lets face it they were very available and committed to following him. However, the best thing I note in Jesus’ example of discipleship is that his commitment to those men was for about three years and even then, they probably weren’t really effective in their own ministries until years after His ascension. We so often don’t want to invest that amount of time nor wait that long to see the results of our investment. One thing I have learned from studying the word is that God has plenty of time. BTW…Cool Blog.

  2. eimrick says:

    I love your post, Anne. Partially because I agree, but mostly because I know that this is exactly how you live. You’re a blessing to our ministry. Regarding the post though, I’ve started combining my disicipleship meetings and I’m seeing more fruit come out of that. In fact, much of the time, I point the group in a direction and come back later to process with them. When we make the mentoring about the process and less about the mentor, I think more growth can occur.

    I’m thankful for the mentors in my life. I can count 7 different men who have sought me out one on one. It would have been interesting to see what other kind of lifelong friendships would have occurred if I had experienced this kind of mentoring.

    BTW, thanks for all you do. I can’t believe we’ve been partnering in ministry for over 7 years now.

  3. Aaron Helman says:

    With students, I prefer 3-on-1 sessions. I can’t walk with them in the hallways of their schools, but their friends can. Their friends need to have that same experience too.

    • eimrick says:

      Thanks for posting, Aaron. I agree that it makes more sense practically. Do you have 3 at a timethat you are working with? If so, how are you seeing the benefits in fruitfulness? Have you been mentored in the past? If so, what made the biggest impact? You can respond here or create your own blog on it. 🙂 You and Mr.McCann are like the socia media gurus.

  4. Renée says:

    Catching up on your blog now that I’m done with finals! I think this is an awesome approach. One-on-one meetings are great but I think having another voice or two in the conversation could be super beneficial. Especially for students who are just coming into their faith, having a peer to walk with is so encouraging.

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