Saturday, June 21, 2008

Time With Mentors

I have been blessed over and over again in my life with a plethora of incredible mentors. These men and women are a diverse group who have formed me into the image of Jesus Christ and provided me an example of what it means to be salt and light in this world. Some of these spiritual mentors have no idea of the impact they have made on my life and others have been intentional about taking me under their wing and teaching me incredible lessons about ministry, marriage, and spirituality.

During my four preaching internships, I have had incredible opportunities to shadow and learn from incredible men who have become peers and friends. I thank God for Prentice Meador, Tim Spivey, Ronnie Norman, and Phil Ware. They all were so gracious to give me their time and energy as I sought to learn what it takes to be a preaching minister in the twenty-first century.

At ACU, several more professors were key participants in my formation. Randy Harris passed along a rare ability to make Scripture come alive in new ways for people in a congregation. David Wray allowed me a glimpse into a man's life who is seeking after spiritual formation in so many ways. As I saw him share his stories of confession, personal devotion, and pastoral care, I saw how a minister must treat a congregation. Jack Reese shared with me a vision for the kingdom that seemed impossible years ago. Charles Siburt taught me how to care for a congregation in times of crisis and conflict. We all want peace, but Charles is a peacemaker, first and foremost. I have so many mentors at ACU that will continue to be my teachers as I enter ministry.

Many ministers have also had a big impact on my development as a minister. Mike Cope, Eddie Sharp, John Siburt, Scott Sager, Doug Peters, Vann Conwell, and all of my internship supervisors have been incredible examples of service in a congregational setting. I appreciate their preaching, but more than that, I appreciate the love they have for their congregations. I am so grateful for the gifts of time and wisdom they have shared with me over the years.

Then, there are the mentors who are closer to my age. Josh Ross, who was once an intern at Highland Oaks while I was in the youth group, is now the preaching minister at the Sycamore View Church of Christ. Josh has always been an incredible friend and mentor who has loved me enough to push me when I needed it most. He saw the spiritual leader in me far before I could sense God's call on my life. I am grateful for his big kingdom vision, his love for his family, and his deep love for the marginalized and oppressed.

I write this post because I have been reminded again this week of how wonderful my mentors are. In the past week, I have shared meals with Lynn Anderson, Rick Atchley, Chris Seidman, and Ray Hardin. What a week it has been! I have been able to ask so many questions and listen to so many stories of God's faithfulness in their lives and ministries. Repeatedly, these men have blessed me with so much advice and many prayers of blessing as I begin my ministry.

For those of you who have lived awhile on your journey of faith with God, share that journey with someone who is beginning their journey like me. You may think your age difference will be a roadblock to community and mentoring, but my life would be so much poorer if others had not poured their lives into mine. I am committed to mentoring others in the future, and all of God's people have a responsibility to share their lives with others. Mentoring is nothing more than poor spiritual beggars sharing their crumbs with other spiritual beggars on the journey of faith! God has given us enough bread to go around. Start spreading the crumbs!

Please comment and tell about someone who has mentored you in your journey of faith!

2 comments:

JRed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jpreding said...

Great post, Collin.

That is quite a significant list. Thanks for the time you shared with me (probably one of the most difficult years of my life) sophomore year.

Peace,

JRed