The whole issue of ‘mentoring’ previously, produced a significant amount of responses. Understandably the problem is not in the concept, but in the various ways that this is carried out or understood.
The #1 barrier is not mentoring itself, but the experience that some have had, usually at the hands of legalistic leadership.
Something else that has to be considered too, is that sometimes only half a story is being told, and maybe, (who knows?) sometimes the problem lies with people who are insisting on having prophetic ministries not acting as servants, but as superiors.
I have met a few of these characters!
But here is our first hurdle. We must never allow our experience to be that which defines our doctrine or theology.
Many of the people who object do not regularly attend a local church, have very little accountability and basically, the Church breathes a sigh of relief when they are away but they can’t see it.
Prophets belong in Church, not outside of it, trying to speak into it. And now here come scores of objections but not by people who are in meaningful relationships and accountability with leaders that they have worked hard with over time!
There are absolutely no short cuts if you want to see things change then you have to be like Jeremiah and Daniel, prophets who stayed with the people of God when things got very tough. In Church life, particularly in the USA, when things get tough, then prophets go AWOL! We’ve got to rediscover the encouragement of mentoring and being mentored. God has so very much to bless us with through the dynamics of authentic, transparent prophetic ministry and I believe that He wants for us to embrace it.
Although the Bible doesn’t use the words mentor or mentoring, it often refers to what we believe are successful mentoring relationships: Jesus and His disciples, Barnabas and Paul, Paul and Timothy, Naomi and Ruth, Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Joshua, Deborah and Barak, Elizabeth and Mary (the mother of Jesus), and many others. All are powerful examples of pairs and the God-inspired actions they took to help each other develop.
But to take things further I need to deviate a little here, and mention something about accountability that you may not have considered before.
The accountability that comes through mentorship is a valuable one. Accountability, to ever work properly has to flow two ways.
- It flows from the prophetic person to the one they are accountable to.
- It also has to be required by the one, or team holding the prophetic person accountable.
Don’t get all hot and bothered about my terminology. The issue I have noticed is that if you are just ‘offering’ accountability to a leader then it is not long before all you are doing is reporting on what you are doing, and basically feeling a bit of a pain in the neck! It can become non-relational, legalistic and non-productive.
Leaders have to also require and distinctly draw accountability to themselves where there is a relationship of mentoring.
Such an act demonstrates that they are taking the process seriously.
My experience in two decades of these things is that very few leaders have required accountability (and very rarely ask what God is doing, has been doing in my life and what I have set my hand to), but are generally happy to hear when I tell them what has been happening. But at times it just seems like they are really not that bothered! I know that is not the case, but it is how it seems, and that itself is a gateway to rejection, despair and disappointment.
What would be nice in an ideal, Spirit-led life, is for a leader to be asking, leading and coaching the prophetic individual towards the greater fulfilment of what God has called them to.
And I think, for the most part that is something we sadly have to dream about.
Encourage the prophets!
God is good.