When many think of mentoring, most often see it as a "limited time only" thing, but to anyone who has ever served in a mentoring role, they know it's a long-term relationship. In my previous post, I shared about one of those long-term relationships that led me to a life-changing decision to get back into full-time collegiate ministry after a 19 year absence. Since making the decision to work for The Navigators at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St Paul, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the last 24 years of disciple-making or mentoring.
I recently had a basketball training session with a 14 year old who wants to take his game and life to a higher level. It was an occasion for me to think back to the first athlete I worked with over 24 years ago. The reason my mind went there is that this particular athlete is the nephew of that guy!
His parents, Matt & Rachel asked me to work with him, at Matt's 40th birthday celebration. Matt and his younger brother Jon were in first youth ministry I back in the mid 90's. These guys were as passionate about basketball and God as I was. It was fun to talk about all the "ironsharpening" sessions on the court at the farm and off the court while they were in high school. The main accomplishment with these guys has been helping them to discover the confidence to become all they can be. The life lessons learned along the way served them well over the years. through college graduations, weddings, kids etc.
Watching them become disciple-makers, mentoring youth, becoming husbands and fathers, striving to raise up good families has been a great joy of mine. I was completely honored that Matt asked me to work with his teenage son. It going to be fun to partner with Matt and Rachel in investing in a third generation of young men in their town. Yes, I said third generation...let me explain.
After Matt and Jon moved away to start their adult lives, I had the pleasure of meeting another family in the same small farm community about 40 minutes away from me. Kurt and Kyle got involved in a basketball program that I volunteered with. Again both guys had a passion for basketball and a bigger passion for God. "Ironsharpening" with these guys was a lot of fun. Walking with these guys through their high school and college years was amazing. Watching them work hard on and off the court. Their hard work on the court paid off in an amazing way,
Kyle and his teammate Brett, who I also mentored, won a state championship in Kyle's senior year. That was a special memory that we got to enjoy and what made it ever better was watching it together with Matt, After that amazing accomplishment, these dudes kept striving for more as they played college basketball, graduated, got married, started families and have embarked on their careers.
These guys have taken the life lessons and have applied them towards pursuing their passions including practicing medicine, running businesses, coaching and even one played professional basketball As a mentor, it is an honor to see that there are good guys who are athletes and love God do things the right way.
It's a special thing to see two generations of young men become all that God intended them to be. These dudes are now paying it forward through their chosen career paths. 2 Timothy 2:2 says:
"and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also:
True discipleship doesn't have a "shelf-life" It is something that constantly pays itself forward. I have been in this business for almost 24 years and have had the privilege to walk alongside hundreds of people on their journey towards becoming all God wants them to become. If done right, this discipleship thing can span multiple generations. Mentoring is a biblical idea. In the bible we are called to make disciples and that is simply what mentoring is. Passing on the knowledge gained to others so that they too can live up to their God-given purpose.
Stay Forever Strong!!