One of the Biblical terms that shapes the expression of mentoring today is ‘nouthetein’ – the verb meaning ‘instruction’ or ‘edification’. It is used by Paul through his letters to encourage believers to respond to and to exercise pastoral teaching or spiritual guidance with one another. The background of the term is important. The context of its use is in family, household or close friendship environments where there is a relationship of trust, responsibility and particularly mutuality. It has the implication of ‘honest and earnest but gentle admonition among friends’. The contextual basis for nouthetein’ is always a caring committed covenant relationship with the other.
By Rick Lewis
Even mentors with many years of experience find that the inherent complexity of human relationships creates an environment in which there will always be much left to learn about this process. Part of this complexity comes from the fact that human relationships function on many levels. On the first level, it is clear that mentors’ words and actions have an impact on mentorees. What may not be quite so obvious is that on deeper levels, other factors within a mentor – such as inner attitudes, emotional health and the condition of the soul – are all in play, affecting the way the relationship functions and develops. Perhaps the most powerful of these factors operating within a Christian mentor is their godliness. Mentoring is not only about what you do; it’s about who you are. I invite you who are mentors to stir up your awareness and understanding of the interconnectedness between who you are, what you do, and the outcomes of your mentoring.