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The Family Tree - One to One Mentoring (article) - Rad Zdero

The Family Tree - One to One Mentoring (article) - Rad Zdero

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Published by Rad Zdero
The Family Tree: One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring

Rad Zdero

One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring Rad Zdero © November 2000

THE FAMILY TREE:

Rad Zdero, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in biomechanics and bio-materials. He is currently the director of a hospital-based research group in Toronto. Rad has been involved in the house church and small group movement since 1985. He is the author of The Global House Church Movement (2004) and the allegorical novel Entopia:
The Family Tree: One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring

Rad Zdero

One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring Rad Zdero © November 2000

THE FAMILY TREE:

Rad Zdero, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in biomechanics and bio-materials. He is currently the director of a hospital-based research group in Toronto. Rad has been involved in the house church and small group movement since 1985. He is the author of The Global House Church Movement (2004) and the allegorical novel Entopia:

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Published by: Rad Zdero on Mar 21, 2010
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03/22/2010

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The Family Tree: One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring Rad Zdero
1
T
HE
F
AMILY
T
REE
:
One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring
Rad Zdero
©
 
November 2000
 Rad Zdero, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in bio-mechanics and bio-materials. He is currently the director of a hospital-based researchgroup in Toronto. Rad has been involved in the house church and small group movement since 1985. He is the author of The Global House Church Movement (2004) and theallegorical novel Entopia: Revolution of the Ants (2008). He is also the editor of Nexus:The World House Church Movement Reader (2007) and The Starfish Files house churchmagazine. He lives in downtown Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at rzdero@yahoo.ca and  www.housechurch.ca 
T
HE
N
EED FOR 
S
PIRITUAL
M
ENTORS
 
As we look around us and absorb the entire
spiritual landscape of this crazy planet, we’ll
notice that Jesus is on the move through hispeople. The church is growing numerically inleaps and bounds worldwide. There is some goodstuff going on and much to be thankful for.If we take a closer look, however, there issomething missing, something that there is a lack of and yet a desperate need for; there is a cry inthe body of Christ for spiritual mothers andfathers, also called mentors or coaches, who takedeliberate personal interest in individuals andhelp them grow.If we turn to the world of sports, manyaccomplished athletes have personal trainers,whether they compete in individual or teamsports. In the academic realm, those pursuing
Master’s or Doctoral degrees each have their own
supervisor who encourages and guides them intheir research. Even families of one or twoparents give personal attention and care to theirfew children, until these kids grow to adulthoodand are then able to become parents themselves.Yet, in the Christian community, we havesomehow contented ourselves to huddle in largegroups, perhaps even in small groups, but havelost the power of one-on-one, feeling perhaps that
it’s unnecessary at worst or necessary but
impractical at best.
B
IBLICAL
E
XAMPLES
 
How did we get here? I think the answer is that
we’ve forgotten the basic Biblical examples of 
those who went before us. There are numerousexamples from scripture of personalized spiritualtraining, but let's briefly look at two, that of Pauland Peter.For instance, Paul the great traveling apostlefounded numerous Christian communities in theMediterranean world of the first century, and hispersonal letters to churches comprise about half the New Testament. But, he didn't start off to be aspiritual "superstar". In the early days after hisawakening to Christ, he was befriended andmentored by Barnabas, a fellow who had beenaround the block a few times spiritually (Acts9:22-27 and 11:22-26).Paul was quick to catch on, though, and soonwas investing in the lives of other individuals likeTimothy, Titus and Silas, in the context of the
 
The Family Tree: One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring Rad Zdero
2
daily ebb and flow of life and ministry (1 Cor4:14-17; 1 Thes 1:1; Titus 1:4). Notice that Paulwas always thinking two or three generationsdown the line, well aware of the impact he couldmake not only on Timothy, but on those whomTimothy had a chance to apprentice (2 Tim 2:2).Similarly Peter, the big fisherman from Galileewith a loud mouth and bad temper, was coachedby Jesus himself. They fished and prayedtogether, walked the desert roads side by side,worshiped in the Temple, ate and drank, and sleptand talked, together. After several years of investment by Jesus, Peter would be ready to takeon the mantle of leadership for the fledglingChristian community (John 21:15-17), whichwould soon burst out of Jerusalem under the
 power of God’s lead.
M
Y
P
ERSONAL
E
XPERIENCE
 
“Well”, you might be thinking, “that was then,this is now. That’s all about that ancient stuff.
Sounds good though, but what does this have todo with me? Does that kind of stuff actually go on
today?” As far as I've got the exact story straight,
back in the 1940s Dawson Trotman, founder of the Christian organization called The Navigators,discipled Waldron Scott, who in turn did the samefor Leroy Eims, who then mentored abusinessman named Bob. Bob then spirituallycoached Tom, who mentored Don, the Navigatorstaff at the university I attended. DawsonTrotman, however, also used to get together onSaturdays with Bill Bright, the founder of thewell-known Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), inorder to pass onto him the basics of how todisciple someone.Now, this is where the rubber hits the road forme personally because a fellow named Dave,whom I met in the first week of my first year of university, was staff with CCC. From that pointon for the next 2 years, he and I would gettogether regularly and frequently to pray, talk,play video games, eat lunch, and study the Biblein the context of campus life and my involvementwith the CCC student group.Then after CCC pulled off the campus, Daveencouraged me to throw in my lot with theNavigator student group. Well, I did. And for thenext four years, the Nav staff there named Don(mentioned earlier) took a personal interest in methe same way Dave had earlier. Eventually, Icame on as associate campus staff with the Navsand was further mentored at key points in my lifeby an older and wiser Nav staff named Jeremy.While on staff, I had the opportunity and privilegeto spiritually coach a few students one-on-one.One of these students in particular is deliberatelycarrying on the process by mentoring somehighschool kids one-on-one and seeing changetake place in their lives. Since leaving staff, I havecontinued to mentor a number of other peoplewho have caught a passion for discipleshipchains.
I didn’t know Dawson Trotman and he didn’t
know me, but because of his willingness 50 yearsago to be available to God and to invest hisenergy into a few individuals, my life has beensignificantly touched by my personal spiritualmentors, Dave, Don, and Jeremy. To them and tothe God who worked through th
em, I’m very
grateful.
S
OME
P
RACTICAL
T
IPS
 
As we proceed in discipling someone or beingdiscipled by someone a bit further along, there area couple of helpful tools or tips to keep handy.
 
The Family Tree: One-to-One Spiritual Mentoring Rad Zdero
3
First off,
choosing who we should invest in
is animportant decision. Spiritual coaches are neededfor:
 
those on the threshold of faith who need helpworking through final barriers, whether theybe intellectual or emotional
 
new Christians who need to be grounded inthe basics of prayer, scripture, lifestylechoices and trusting God
 
growing Christians to be matured andchallenged to discover their gifts and startapplying them to help the body of Christ
 
believers who are actively trying to sharetheir faith or are in the process of mentoring ayounger believer
 
those in pain or crisis who need support,whether that means just being there to listen,pray, comfort, etc.
 
emerging leaders to develop in their ability,confidence, and vision to leadSecond, the
goals and expectations
of theprocess will vary depending on the peopleinvolved and the understanding set out by thementor and mentoree. It may just be about growthin one area, such as Bible study or a ministryskill. For instance, a friend and I used to meetweekly over a period of a year and a half. Wefocused specifically on keeping each otheraccountable for evangelism among our friends.We would pray for specific people and talk abouthow it was going with these friends one week. Onalternate weeks we would be reading throughsome helpful articles and looking at relatedscriptures. In most cases, though, the friendshipmay naturally develop a more holistic tone inwhich marriage, finances, family, sexuality,culture, career, academics, etc, are addressed. Weshould not be afraid to share our own strugglesand victories in these areas. This will keep it real.Third,
how often and for how long
you gettogether needs to be clear so that the twoextremes of burnout and losing touch be avoided.I like to make a weekly time with someone one-on-one for at least an hour or two. In a previouscoaching role, I got together with a friend, whowas a new believer, every Friday night for dinner,a movie, talk time, and some prayer, over a 9month period. This usually was an entire eveningout. It was both relaxing and invigorating for bothof us.Fourth, know that
we will reproduce after our own kind 
, whether we like it or not. It is importantto model things as much as it is to teach because,as someone once said, "more is caught than isformally taught". This is about life-on-lifeministry. If we are weak in prayer, then it may notcome as a surprise that the person we're helpingalong will develop the same habits. If we arestrong in one area, such as evangelism, then it'slikely they will develop the same spiritualmuscles. I am not implying here that the personwe are coaching has no mind or personality of their own and that they will simply mimic whatthey see in us. This may not be the case forgrowing or mature believers, but it is likely withnew Christians.Fifth,
the duration of the mentoring relationship
 is not necessarily meant to be a lifetimecommitment. It may be intense with frequentcontact only for a season, such as a school year ortwo in connecting with students in a campussetting. Because the purpose of this process is tonurture and release the person into ministry andlife, rather than control and keep, circumstances

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