Mentoring and Legalism


I recently read a great article that gets to the heart of not only ministering to youth but is also applicable to mentoring and specifically gospel driven mentoring. It addresses a common pitfall many working with youth fall into. Legalism.

But why does youth ministry tend to be legalistic? They give four reasons but I’ll touch on the first one because it also speaks to how mentoring can become legalistic: The desire to see results.

As a mentor we desperately want to see growth or change in our mentees. We want them to act better in public, do better in school, memorize Bible verses, etc… But mentoring is long term and growth and change is often gradual at best and non existent at worst. Check out this excerpt:

“Like any ministry profession, youth pastors (or mentors) want to see changed lives. At the same time, youth pastors (or mentors) need to view themselves as sowers, planting gospel seeds for harvest down the road… Wanting validation for their tireless labor, youth ministers occasionally focus on behavior modification as a means of providing tangible proof of the efficacy of their ministry.”

I’m reminded of Paul as he addresses the divisive Corinthian church when it comes to our role in ministering to others:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Cor 3: 6-7

Let us rejoice in planting seeds in our mentee’s lives and trust the One who gives the growth.

For the full article click here.

-Billy Rose, Director of Mentoring


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