Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Are We Mentoring the Young?

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeI remember – in my younger days – watching my dad and the young men and women he trained along the way in his ministry. Many of them began as church hires – working with the youth – working with visitation – working with the general ministry of the church. Some came to our church as conference appointments. At Seat Pleasant (now Gethsemane) and Trinity in Annapolis – he had several young people enter the ministry through their joint ministries. I remember well these young people who were entering ministry and how my dad mentored them and gave them many opportunities to serve and learn. Several were at his funeral six plus years ago – others sent letters and cards expressing how much dad meant to them.

I remember the young men and women who came through the churches I have served and still serve. I even began as a young pastor myself. Being young is something I don’t have to worry about any longer. There is still time though to pass along some wisdom and insights in ministry to those who are beginning the journey. I have worked with numerous staff members over the years – several are now elders in our conference – and it has been a blessing. I have also used social media of late as a way to connect with other young pastors and have enjoyed working with others. I hope they have enjoyed our interactions as well.

Paul was giving some words of advice to a young pastor – Timothy. He wrote – Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Being young doesn’t mean we have a built-in excuse. And if we wish to be accepted by those who are older – as a partner in ministry or life – we need to watch our behavior in all ways. Young people shouldn’t be seen as the church of tomorrow but rather as part of the church today. Their gifts and graces should be highlighted and used to the glory of God.

I remember hearing a few times in my ministry – he’s young – he will learn – and I hope I did. Paul wanted Timothy – and I believe all young Christians – to work to be above such statements. All who are in Christ should strive to be seen as maturing workers in the kingdom – not youngsters that will get it some day! Again – our young people shouldn’t be the church of the future – but rather part of the church today! If you see yourself as older – who is it that you are mentoring? Who are you striving to uplift and encourage? Who are you pouring your life into so that they will be a better servant today of Jesus Christ?

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. 1 Timothy 4:11–16 – 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Are we mentoring the young? Are we seeing them as valuable and part of the church today? Are we taking the time – as Paul did with Timothy – to encourage and uplift those who are following us?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

March 15, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , ,

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