by Carolyn Ros
A Dutch Publisher contacted me with the following request:
‘Could you write a book to help bring a connection between the generations?’ They continued by saying: ‘ Our churches are missing a needed discipleship model of seeing practical mentorship as a means of raising disciples from young believers.’
I prayerfully considered this incredible invitation and reluctantly agreed to write. Reluctantly, as I realized that there are so many facets that could be covered when approaching this subject. But I agreed to the proposal based on the feedback from the younger generation who asked: ‘ where are the spiritual fathers and mothers who would be interested to invest in us on our spiritual journey?’
I sent out a questionnaire to approximately 25 people that I have recently mentored. Their responses were overwhelming:
‘I wanted to find someone who would listen to my story.’
‘I did not have parents who could help me spiritually. I was looking to see if there was an older person who could help me on my journey with God.’
‘I was looking for someone I could trust to process some experiences with.’
‘I valued the fact that you would invest time to listen to me. You saw me and recognized my potential.’
‘We were looking for someone who would ask us the difficult questions that we were unable to ask ourselves.’
‘Every Christian that is serious about their relationship with God should have a mentor and seek to be a mentor to others.’
As I sorted through the answers and the remarks that I received, I realized that what was needed was not a professional textbook , but a book that would help equip the various generations to take steps to interact and connect with each other.
As I prayed, the image of a relay race came to mind. A relay race team consists of four runners. The race is not complete until each athlete takes his or her place. Each runner needs to run his or her lap of the race with diligence, endurance and skill while being prepared to either receive the baton or pass it on to the next runner.
I saw in this image a powerful example of what spiritual mentorship is. It is a tool to help develop and release disciples.
Spiritual growth has many components. One of these components is inviting someone else to walk with you for a season, to help you understand more of who you are, more of the Word of God and to understand the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. All of these pieces of the puzzle help the mentee to see the larger plan of God for their own life but also what the Lord is doing in the world around them.
What is needed are more spiritual moms and dads. This is not age related but refers more to those who have a trusted track record of walking with God through the different seasons of life. They need to have a love to see others grow spiritually. They will need to provide a safe, trusted, hospitable environment, as this will facilitate the process. They will need to be committed to prayerfully surround this process, offering a listening ear while trusting the Holy Spirit to enable the mentee to grow deeper spiritual roots.
In my book, I share my own back-story as an example of how the Holy Spirit can work redemption in a broken life. I also provide some biblical examples of mentoring relationships that can hopefully help in understanding who a mentor could be. I include some practical steps on how to develop as a mentor and what a mentee should be looking for in a mentor.
Knowing what healthy boundaries are, is essential, as well as to learn some very important do’s and don’ts in regard to a mentoring relationship. Spiritual mentorship is not about attaching people to yourself but providing a platform for them to grow further.
My prayer is that this book would be a tool to help link the generations, for generations to come.
With love and blessings,
About the author
Carolyn Ros-Frivold is of Norwegian descent, born in America, and raised in Japan. She met her Dutch husband Johan at a Bible school in England, and together they serve in Youth With A Mission Amsterdam since the late eighties. They raised four children and currently have eight grand children. Carolyn is a teacher, mentor and coach and wrote several other books, including “Promised” and “Broken Dreams, Fulfilled Promises”.