Mentoring is a biblical approach to growing and disciplining. Even in the Old Testament (Exodus 18) Moses was given a blueprint (at the urging of his father-in-law Jethro) to follow to extend his effectiveness. He was to appoint and train elders to share the load.
Ecclesiastes chapter 4 provides further insight: 4 And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself. 6 Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Should we be competing with each other as if Christian school students and resources are in limited supply only to be “won” by the most competitive?
For many schools, they see their situation this way: Ecclesiastes 4 continues: 7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: 8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless– a miserable business!
Now again we see a framework for mentoring. In verses 9-11 we see great benefits from healthy and helping relationships: stewardship, mentoring, fellowship, courage and strength.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
New Testament mentoring
Think of how Paul mentored Timothy and how our Lord Jesus took 12 disciples under His wing to teach and show them how to share the Good News. In these cases, the student and the teacher were in close proximity; assuring there were regular and profound communications – life on life.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul writes “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” A few verses later (11-12) “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”