The need to mentor is underscored by Ellen G. White: “After individuals have been converted to the truth, they need to be looked after. . . . These newly converted ones need nursing—watchful attention, help, and encouragement. These should not be left alone. . . ; they need to be educated . . . to be kindly dealt with, to be led along, and to be visited and prayed with” (Evangelism, p. 351).
So the objective of a mentoring program is to encourage a close bond between new believers and faithful members of local churches.
Prior to the opening night of evangelistic meetings, pastors are wise to have handpicked individuals who arc stable in the faith and have demonstrated an ability to relate to nonmembers, and ask them to serve as spiritual mentors to the new members who will join the church as a result of the meetings.
Those who would serve as mentors must make a commitment to attend all of the meetings. For these members the pastor should hold a short training program, explaining to them their duties and teaching them pastoral ministry skills.
Near the end of the meetings the pastor must match new believers with suitable mentors. When matching members and new believers, it is best to keep in mind these factors:
- Social Status
Introduce mentors and new believers during the last visit the pastor makes to prepare candidates for baptism.
Then have the mentor stand by the baptismal tank during the baptism.
Introduce the new believer and the spiritual mentor to the congregation.
The pastor should periodically schedule meetings with the mentors for updating and further training.
Paul: Evangelist and Mentor
“The apostle [Paul] felt that he was to a large extent responsible for the spiritual welfare of those converted under his labors. His desire for them was that they might increase in a knowledge of the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent. Often in his ministry he would meet with little companies of men and women who loved Jesus, and bow with them in prayer, asking God to teach them how to maintain a living connection with Him. Often he took counsel with them as to the best methods of giving to others the light of gospel truth. And often, when separated from those for whom he had thus labored, he pleaded with God to keep them from evil and help them to be earnest, active missionaries” ( The Acts of the Apostles, p. 262).
Here are some of the things that will impact the mentor relationship:
- Be a friend to the new members.
- Be available, e.g., exchange phone numbers.
- Sit with them in church.
- Attend follow-up meetings with them.
- Introduce them to other church members.
- Invite them home for a meal.
- Pray for them.
- Study with them. Answer their questions.
- Help them find a church ministry.
- Invite them to the social functions of the church.
- Visit in their home.
- Invite them to have sunset worship with you.
- Pry into mentored persons’ personal business.
- Monopolize their time, preventing them from making other friendships within the church.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist