You know who’s done with growing? Dead people. Everyone else needs a mentor, coaching them along toward their next stage of growth or maturity.
If you’re not dead, you’re not done. -Perry Noble
You know who needs a coach / mentor? Everyone! Particularly disciples of Jesus. No matter how old, mature, or experienced you become, you always need someone in your life challenging you to take that next step in your faith development.
Even world-class athletes have coaches telling them how to improve, how to achieve more in their sport. Let me introduce you to Usain Bolt – literally the fastest human ever. EVER. Now let me introduce you to someone else, Glen Mills, Usain Bolt’s coach. (Doesn’t look like the kind of man that could teach you anything about sprinting, huh? But he has trained numerous Olympic track stars and record-holders over the past 15 years.) Usain Bolt – the fastest human on planet earth – has a coach giving him tips and challenging him on how he can run even faster!
LeBron James has a basketball coach.
Roger Federer has a tennis coach.
Miguel Cabrera has a batting coach.
Phil Mickelson has a golf coach off the course AND a caddy by his side on the course, constantly feeding him advice and counsel about his game.
Lionel Messi, arguably the world’s current greatest footballer (soccer player) has two coaches: one for his club team (Barcelona), and one for his national team (Argentina).
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of American football. At the time of this writing, his four NFL MVPs are a league record, he is a former Super Bowl Champion and MVP, he has been named to 13 Pro Bowls, and he holds the single-season record for both touchdown passes and passing yards.
Despite all his success, decoration, fame, wealth, experience, and expertise, Peyton Manning has – not one coach, not just two or three coaches, but – FOUR coaches, just for his role as a football quarterback! Besides them, Manning has his manager/agent, his legal counselor, his financial advisor, and his dad and brother who are themselves both highly-decorated American football players. This guy is at the very top of his game, and he is surrounded by coaches and mentors on all sides!
What’s the point? No matter how awesome we get at something, we still need to remain learners who are willing to take advice, correction, and input from others. There is a clear connection between success and humility to coaching / mentoring. We need people in our lives teaching us, challenging us, helping us to hone and refine our skills and gifts. It’s true in sports, academics, business, parenting…
It is definitely true of Christian discipleship.
I want to be the most successful disciple of Jesus I can be. Thus, I will take a cue from these athletic greats and do everything I can to surround myself with Godly mentors, advisors, counselors, and coaches who can speak into my life, sand off my rough edges, and help me to achieve the Kingdom greatness that God intended for me for His glory!
Quick story: I’ve been leading worship now for almost 19 years. I just recently met a young man whom I could tell almost immediately I could learn new things from in regards to leading worship more effectively. I have just recently asked this new friend if he would be willing to come alongside me to help me improve my ability to lead people in the worship of God.
He is younger than me (age-wise), but I can see that he can be a mentor to me, and I don’t want to miss out on my next season of growth because of arrogance or pride!
To whom are you submitting yourself as a mentor or coach in your life as a disciple of Jesus? Who is someone that God might lead you to ask to help coach you into your next step of faith development?
Wonderful offering, Nick. Thank you for this healthy reminder. You may be planning this for a follow up blog, but I would also add that it is important to be a mentor as well as have mentors. In the same way that some sports coaches don’t look like the players that they coach or younger people mentor older ones in certain areas, being a mentor does not require that we be spiritual giants or older than the person that we mentor; we all have strength to offer. If the enemy can convince us that we do not have anything that others need he has achieved a major victory. Let’s choose to listen instead to the ‘Voice of Truth’. This is a boat that we can all get out of.
Thank you, Peter! Yes, being a mentor/coach to others is an essential further development of this idea – thank you for bringing that concept to bear in this discussion. Discipleship involves a constant mixture of both following some AND leading others. Good call!