Mentor Benefit: Bypass

A mentor allows a missionary to bypass a lot of painful errors…

When I was a kid, my friends and I were into video games. And I for one was not very good. It was a pre-internet (i.e. lame) age, so if we wanted to have any kind of help in our gaming endeavors, we only had recourse to traditional print media (the publishing options for 12-year-olds back then were sadly lacking). So a favorite pastime for us was to go to the mall electronics store and search video game magazines for codes until we got kicked out. What made these codes so precious, you ask? Codes in hand, a juvenile gamer of mediocre talent like myself could be just as successful as the most gifted. They got us past the parts that stumped us, tripped us up, and wasted our time. They got us to the awesomeness.

For a missionary, having an invested mentor is going to have a similar effect. There’s about a thousand mistakes lying like land-mines in your missionary career path. A real mentor is going to tell you about them before you get to them. From language school to starting a church, from raising support to training leaders, my mentor has helped steer us through a minefield. Personal experience may be the most effective teacher, but the experience of others is by far a gentler.

Where do you go when you’re hung up? Do you have someone you can ask that has overcome a similar obstacle? Do you have a hotline that you can call day or night for assistance? Or do you have to cobble together the best answer you can with what resources you can find? Maybe it’s because missions tends to attract those with a certain proclivity for independence, but a lot of us missionaries seem to be pretty insulated from outside input. While empowering and exhilarating, that independence can lead us into danger. And not just danger of moral failure. I mean dangers like stagnation, unbiblical ministry philosophies, and excuse-making.

Of course, there’s always the ‘purists’ who see those who accept help from a mentor as ‘cheaters.’ To them, if you didn’t get there on your own, the victory isn’t as valuable. Why, exactly? First of all, however we get there, it’s all of grace. The privilege of having a mentor is an undeserved gift from God, but so are any of the other abilities that get us there. You haven’t stopped relying on God when you ask others for help – rather you’ve acknowledged your weakness and accepted help that God’s made available to you. Second, the desire to boast of our achievements apart from outside help doesn’t rate very high on the humility scale.

So humble yourself to ask someone for the codes – get to the awesomeness.

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  1. Why You Should Get a Mentor…and Listen to Him | Project Thailand - January 15, 2011

    […] Mentor Benefit: Bypass […]

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