“Mentoring Young men for Ministry” was the final “best church practice” examined at the 2017 GARBC Conference in North East, Maryland. One of the most prominent examples of this practice in the New Testament is that of the apostle Paul and his protégé Timothy. Preaching from 2 Timothy 1 and 2, Steve Viars closed out this year’s conference by highlighting the mentoring principles that Timothy received from his mentor during his turbulent ministry at Ephesus.
“Embrace the privilege of mentoring!” Viars urged his audience. “The church of Jesus Christ is the best place for mentoring to happen.” Pastors today should learn from Paul’s example, committing the Biblical and doctrinal deposit they have received “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
As with all areas of pastoral ministry, mentoring must be solidly grounded in the all-sufficient Word of God, Viars said. This element is sorely lacking in many sectors of American evangelicalism today. All too often, doctrine and Bible teaching are underemphasized or neglected. “God can put His product on the market in this day and age without us having to water it down, Viars said. “That’s why I believe that one of the seminal doctrines is whether or not you believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. And whether or not you believe that God has given us in His Word all we need for life and godliness.” Pastors should put a lot more stock in the power of Scripture and a lot less stock in flashy marketing strategies and church-growth gimmicks. Furthermore, they should pass their commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture on to their protégés.
The task of Christian ministry can be a daunting one, so mentors should make it a priority to impress upon their protégés the importance of divine enabling for service. The very power of the triune God, which was so spectacularly demonstrated in the resurrection of Christ, is available to believers today. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” Paul wrote. “Nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:8–10).
Mentoring young men for ministry isn’t just a good church practice; it’s a vital one. “I believe there’s a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned,” Viars said. “And I believe it’s an absolute privilege to serve God.” Those are sentiments that all devoted Christian ministry leaders should be able to resonate with and are ideals they should labor tirelessly to preserve for the next generation.