When I was in high school, something happened that changed the course of my life. As I look back now, some fifty years later, I realize how important it was to my future. What took place that was so life changing?
Someone pursued a relationship with me. He not only became a great friend, he became my mentor. And his influence on my life would be profound. Who was he? And what did he do to make such a lasting imprint on my life?
He was my Youth Pastor. His name? Ken Mishler.
I’ve had a lot of time to evaluate our relationship since my high school days. And the principles Ken used with me are the same ones used by Jesus as he mentored his disciples. We’ll talk more about them this Sunday at Tower Life Center. But let me give you the outline that we’ll develop.
Here it is: Grace + Truth + Time = Change.
Ken built a relationship with me based on grace. He spent a lot of time with me and really got to know me. He asked me a lot of questions about my life, about what was important to me. He really wanted to know what made me tick – the good, the bad, and the ugly. And he loved me. He believed in me. He encouraged me. He laughed with me and cried with me. He knew my failures and how insecure I was.
He studied the Bible with me. And he helped me apply it to my life. He prayed with me. He held me accountable. He showed me what following Jesus looks like . . . how to live it. Without Ken’s commitment to me as my mentor, I probably would have missed out on the abundant life Christ promises us. Grace (Ken’s forgiveness, God’s forgiveness) + truth (I really do matter to Ken and to God, God's word) + time (playing sports, laughing, eating, praying, helping me connect with positive friends, studying the Word, worshiping, sitting together in church, belching, camping, going to his house, and did I mention laughing) = change (my life was changed forever because he mentored, or in the Biblical term, he discipled me).
Where would I be without Ken Mishler? I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be the man that I am. And I wanted to grow up and be just like him. And I’ve done my best to do just that.
So . . . who are you mentoring? Grace + Truth + Time = Change. That’s the formula. And that’s what Jesus has called every one of us to commit to . . . to become a mentor. A disciple maker.
See you Sunday!