Every generation comes up with new ideas—things that they believe were never thought of before, new technology, and new methods of communication. With these advances comes the idea that not only is our technology better, but our methods are better than those that have come before, and as such we begin to replace tried and true methods with things that we think will work better.
In our busy and independent lives, two items that were key to the early Christian life started to fall by the wayside, but now through the Internet and a growing sense of the need to be more authentic in our Christian lives, these two things are making a comeback.
Mentoring is nothing new. Children used to learn skills through apprenticeship to their chosen profession or by learning how to do their parent’s field through watching and practicing with their parents. The Bible talks about mentoring in Titus 2 when Paul is instructing Timothy to have the older men and women to teach the younger men and women in their churches the appropriate behavior and expectations for believers.
In this way, appropriate behavior and skills as well as theology and righteous living could be trained into the next generation, and wisdom could be shared cross generationally.
Modern Christianity has replaced mentoring future generations with Sunday School classes, Single Sex Bible Studies and a group format that tries to teach more all at once and misses the direct connections.
Home life is one area that is particularly suffering because of the lack of mentoring:
There is a serious epidemic in our society. Marriages are crumbling left and right, even in the church.The majority of marriages that are sticking it out, aren’t happy. We are a nation of vow breakers and when we aren’t happy, we leave. There is a desparate[sic] need for older women to take up the call of God and begin teaching young women to love and obey their hsubands[sic], love their children, be chaste and discreet keepers at home so God’s Word will stop being blasphemed among so many Christians today!
The thing with mentoring is that it takes time. It takes involvement, and it takes actually being present. It’s difficult because it means that the one mentoring works hard at being a part of someone’s life, and the one being mentored needs to take direction from the one mentoring. Our independent society doesn’t want to do this, because we always know better!
However, this isn’t the first article I’ve read on the topic, and the Internet has allowed for some older ladies to mentor younger ones remotely. There is progress, and more people are seeing how critical this “lost” art is. Expect to see a resurgence especially if times get tougher.
Hand in hand with mentoring is Discipleship. Whereas I look at mentoring in more practical items (keeping house, being sober, responsibilities…), I look at discipleship as more spiritual. This field is also growing and you can see it in the birth and flourishing of home Bible Studies and the emphasis of people leading their families in the ways of God.
I’ve worked through curriculum that specialized in discipleship for evangelism, and it really helped me to be able to better share my faith.
Do you see any other “lost” arts making a comeback?