Christians do not walk alone in the race of life. We run with our contemporaries and are supported by a cloud of witnesses. We live in a web of relationships with other saints, and we love, support, encourage, and often forgive, each other. Thank God, for life is too hard to be lived alone.
By Mark D. Harris
In his famous work, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens told the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly businessman who learned the true meaning of Christmas. Three important characters in the transformation of Scrooge from sinner to saint were the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future.
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God gives us faithful men and women to lead us and shape us in our journey towards Christ. A. Reid Jepson was a mentor of mine.
The classroom was empty, but I was sure it would soon be full. A junior at Biola University, I was excited about my developing relationship with God and expecting the gospel of Jesus Christ to reach the world in my lifetime. A leader in the Student Missionary Union (SMU), I had arranged a prayer meeting to petition the Lord on some pressing missions concerns. I had invited a dear friend, Reverend A. Reid Jepson, a long time pastor and missionary with the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) and the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA), to address the group. Reid had traveled many times behind the Iron Curtain and had dozens of examples of the powerful work of God in his life to share.
I had invited all of the active members of the SMU and many personal friends, selected the time and place to coordinate with their schedules, and even used my meager college income to buy a few refreshments. Reid had known my mother for years, had taught me many things about the Lord, and he was the most faithful Christian man I knew. Always punctual, he arrived about 20 minutes before the prayer meeting was to begin. I arranged and rearranged the chairs, the missions materials and the snacks, and we chatted as we waited.
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How did Jesus mentor His disciples? How did He mentor others? How should we mentor those who look to us for leadership?
One of the greatest strengths of mentoring leaders is the ability to teach. To reproduce himself, a man must teach, by words and by actions, those who are learning from him. Jesus taught large groups and the people marveled at the wisdom and authority of His words. He was doing His most important work, however, when He was teaching small groups of His disciples and other followers (Luke 24:32).
Mentoring leaders also use gifts of exhortation to mentor those entrusted to them. Exhortation includes encouragement and instruction to do the right and wise thing. After Peter’s proclamation of faith in Matthew 16:16, Jesus encouraged him. After Peter denied Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75, Jesus encouraged him again (John 21:15-17). Many times in the gospels Jesus exhorted His disciples. Such gifts as exhortation and teaching are evidence of excellent communication, in this case sharing leadership principles and examples to the next generation of leaders.
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