The practice of "mentoring" is basic to human society. The term goes back to Homer's Odyssey, roughly 900BC; where an old man named "Mentor"(assisted by the goddess Athena) guides a young man through a crisis.
We are created knowing very little, but gifted with the potential to learn. We all have a different mix of the ways we learn, but we start out in life with built-in mentors--our parents, grandparents, and other people who are part of our lives. We spend good part of our early life watching,listening, imitating and growing. We learn different things from different people in different stages of our lives, but very often there are one or more special people in our lives that take specific interest and time with us to help us learn. One of the most important thing in the lifelong journey of learning is the people we learn from. Good parents and friends will teach us good things we need to know, irresponsible parents or friends can teach us things that are not good for us. We need to recognize those people who have the good knowledge that we need. Most ancient cultures have a traditional story of a supernatural wise and poweful being that appeared to their ancestors with wisdom, instructions, and rules. We believe that a creator God is the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge; in some cases it lost its connection and got off track.
Back in Eden, God told Adam what he was expected to do, and one thing he was not to do. This is was the first step in the having to deal with the results of doing what put us all on a path that has its wide and narrow, its goals and pitfalls. We see that our faith tradition goes back to a man who had the best mentor of all: God Himself. We see Abram/Abraham's calling in Genesis 12, which includes his obedience as well as his mistakes. We find that God gives Abraham both promises and instructions, a covenant that still recognized. We have a Scriptural record of what God told Abraham and his descendents to learn; the record of a 2000 year story of people who have mentored others, some of whom were listened to and some who weren't. We still have this record of what we need to know to be in a right relationship with our Creator. We also have had another 2000 years of people teaching others--some for better, some for worse. It is amazing that the story of God and His people has survived, but it is the plan we were given in the beginning. We also have the responsibility to learn what He has to teach us, and teach others in turn in gratitude for His love and patience.
We are always learning, one way or another. We need to choose the best, and recognize what falls short of that. For about the last 15 years, the Calvary/NorthPoint community has been learning how to teach, how to mentor, how to learn who God is and why we have been called to follow Him. It has been exciting to watch the passion for teaching the Word grow, with some ups and downs. We have seen the program that is now JumpStart develop and become ready to spread a new telling of an old, old Story here on Sierra Way, to San Bernardino, across the US, and to some amazing parts of the world. If you are interested, there will be someone available in the back of the church with information and sign-up opportunities. Come join the adventure!