Learning With

I don’t always read books with people I’m mentoring/shepherding/discipling – pick a word – I like them all. This semester, however, I’m going through two really good ones.

Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias. I’m reading this one with a girl who is enrolled in a Global Islam course. We both thought it would be a good time to look at the uniqueness of Jesus in light of her course content. I absolutely love Ravi Zacharias. I could listen to his beautiful Indian accent all the day long. His writing is equally as wonderful – deep and challenging theology sprinkled with poetry, testimony and story.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. The cover kinda says it all, “You can not be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.” Yeah. Exactly.

Not every book lends itself to discussion with another person. These two definitely do. In the ministry of discipleship, one of my favorite things is “learning with” students. Reading books together, studying God’s Word, memorizing new scripture, are all examples of that.

I hope it models for them that I don’t think of myself as a finished work, that I understand God is still maturing me and sanctifying me, and that I still need to seek and pursue His Word and learn from people who God has given insight. I try not to set myself up as the “Teacher” but as someone who facilitates – God does the teaching. I hope this translates into something students can see themselves doing for others down the road.

I will never forget when an older student in the Navigator ministry I was involved in during college asked to “get some time” with me. I thought she was volunteering to help me out because I was especially “slow” spiritually. That was the first in the many mentoring relationships God has blessed me with over the years. I haven’t stopped seeking them out either. When I’m 80, I’ll probably be trolling the halls of my nursing home looking for an 81-year-old to talk about God with.

How about you? Is there someone in your life who has the inside scoop, who is a step ahead in life or experience who can encourage and help you? Is there someone who you could begin to spend time with whose walk with the Lord might be enriched with a little encouragement from you? I bet if you asked God right now He would bring to mind someone who could help you and someone you could help.

If you need any help in thinking through what to do with a person, let me know – this happens to be a passion of mine. That and speed cleaning!

3 thoughts on “Learning With

  1. Oooh…I have a question! I have a friend whom I enjoy spending time with, but who is fairly quiet. She’s not interested in talking about God…quite the opposite, really. Do you have suggestions for things to do / things to talk about? I run out of ideas after a while, and that’s when the temptation to gossip starts to loom, because it would be an easy way to fill the dead air space.

    I’d also love to know how you approach a mentor and how you spend your time with them.

  2. jessdager says:

    NINJA PRINCESS!!! Have you tried doing a mini-book club with this friend? She picks a book, you pick a book? As for mentors, if there is someone I am interested in getting some time around I usually ask if they would be open to getting some coffee together and talking over whatever topic I need some advice on. I don’t try and set up anything long term at first. If that first time goes well, I ask if they would mind meeting again, etc. I tell them straight up that I’m working on an issue or feel I need an older, wiser voice in my life and are they interested in that. If they are experienced in that sort of relationship dynamic, it’s pretty natural. But, some of my best mentors have been people who had never done it before but really had so much to offer. I like to come prepared with 5 questions or so I would just like to listen to them talk about. It really encourages me to hear peoples stories and how they’ve handled certain problems, etc. They usually feel blessed to have been sought out and to have had the chance to talk too. 🙂

    • Jess,
      Thanks for the thoughts! I like the idea of a book club. We have very differenct interests, but I think that would be a positive aspect — we’d each be able to learn something new. The last time we got together we did some baking, and I really enjoyed that. I think we’ll try that again also.

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