Training others is not merely two people sitting together having a Bible study.  It is actually multi-faceted.  Jesus equipped the twelve in three ways:

  • Private Learning – Jesus developed the HEART by speaking with the disciples personally, ministering with them and allowing them to watch His life in a close and transparent way.
  • Public Learning – Jesus developed the HEAD by preaching and teaching in forums where the disciples listened, rehearsed, discussed and remembered God’s truth.
  • Practical Learning – Jesus developed the HANDS by consistently giving the disciples opportunities to baptize and to go out and preach, and then come back and discuss what they had learned.


Probably the most frightening aspect of biblical training for most church leaders is being a mentor to an emerging leader.  This relationship model is often unfamiliar to church leaders, a bit too close and invasive, and somewhat time-consuming.

Can a pastor or church evangelist really disciple an emerging leader … be a mentor to him?  Of course he can!  But advanced discipleship is like swimming – you can read books on it, hear of others doing it, and look at diagrams, but you can’t learn it until you do it.  Where do you start?  Here are some helpful hints!


Prayerfully consider the men God has given you.  You may look at your group and desire men with more sophistication or education; but just remember that although Jesus chose his twelve, he actually chose those that God gave to Him (John 17:6-19).  We might surmise that Jesus could have used a more noble, educated bunch of men rather than these fishermen, zealots and tax-collectors who were “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13).  Your group may fit the description of God’s simple folk in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29; they can be used mightily by God.

What should you be looking for in choosing an emerging leader to mentor?  In Matthew 24:45-25:30, Jesus said that those who were faithful in little would be placed in charge of much.  He described a faithful person as one who had a good, self-motivated work ethic, one who used his time wisely, and one who handled other people’s things wisely.  Paul instructed Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 to commit the things he had learned to faithful men who would be able to teach others.

You should, therefore, be looking for someone who has been faithful and dutiful and who has the capabilities to pass along to others what you will be giving to him (understanding that he may be “a diamond in the rough”).


Most Christians envision discipleship as person-to-person discussions – where the mentor and the emerging leader sit down in an office, at home or in a coffee shop to talk over the week, share struggles, opportunities, and prayer requests.  They pray together, then study together, trouble-shoot together, and work on personal spiritual disciplines.  Here are some tips to remember when you meet.

  • Meet once a week for at least an hour.
  • Meet most often with one person at a time.
  • Like Jesus, meet with several men sometimes.
  • Be careful that your meetings do not boil down into directionless chats.  Keep things “non-formal” – informal, but with a direction and purpose.
  • Be candid.  No questions are off limits for one who is training to be a pastor.
  • Give them goals to accomplish – a passage or chapter to read or a verse to memorize.  Discuss what you’ve read the next time you meet.
  • Pray together.


Jesus did not merely talk to His disciples.  He lived, traveled and ministered with them.  He didn’t teach them systematic theology or have them toting books.  They memorized passages in the synagogue and then worked out those principles in everyday life.  Living and laboring together – person-with-person ministry – is the purest form of discipleship, where conversations are more incidental than focal.

Person-with-person ministry is when the mentor takes the emerging leader with him to do evangelism.  “Coming along” is the single greatest way to learn ministry.  They will learn far more by doing than by reading books about ministry.  The question is – Can you remember to take them with you?  Can you remember the Mentor’s Motto:  “Never Go Alone”

Written by Dave Brown

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