Praying, screening, praying, discerning, praying and deciding all to build a new program or service for ministry is no easy task. Yet, this is what our committed Curriculum Committee has done in the process of fashioning our soon-to-be rolled-out Mentor Program for parents of children with special needs. This group of hard-working, talented and passionate individuals has not only been reading, adapting and assembling pieces to train mentors, but they have also been choosing what God shows them is best for mentorees. It has been incredible to watch how God has used the unique gifts of each person to make His wider vision a reality!
One of the tools our committee has chosen is the above pictured book, AUTHENTIC SPIRITUAL MENTORING: NURTURING BELIEVERS TOWARD SPIRITUAL MATURITY by Larry Kreider. As we are forging new territory in forming a curriculum specifically geared towards those with children who have “diff-abilities”, the team has worked hard to not only equip for the broader concept of mentoring, but also for the specific, remarkable need. This volume by Kreider surely provides a sound, thorough framework to build upon.
Breaking the entire theme into three well-defined sections, the author begins first by making the case for this type of life-skills tool. The four chapters within “Part I: The Importance of Spiritual Mentoring”, use the paradigm of family life and good role models to present the need, and demonstrate the effectiveness of such an approach. It is hard to complete this section without feeling motivated to answer the call to live out your daily Christian walk as an example to all those who need it for their own growth.
In “Part II: Finding a Spiritual Mentor” there continues to be much “meat” to feast on in learning the basics of mentoring. Kreider shows that an individual does not have to attain perfection to step into the role of mentor. (A fact to which I can wholeheartedly attest!) He details three different types of mentor-mentoree relationships, so that anyone can start right where they are. He emphasizes the essential priority of an intimate, daily friendship with God. And the author additionally examines healing from the past as well as the benefits of multiple mentors.
Finally, “Part III: Being A Spiritual Mentor” really pulls apart the ins-and-outs of preparing to mentor. True excellence is put on display as following Jesus’ exact blueprint is detailed. Holding back the urge to boss around the mentoree or do things for them are just a few of the difficult pitfalls that Kreider points out to avoid in this section. But also spelled-out is becoming the useful mentor we would all hope to be. Step-by-step the reader is really prepared to be released to a mentoring relationship by the end of this section.
Overall, this book has been a sound choice made by our Curriculum Committee because it first and foremost points to God’s word for every insight. It breaks down the Bible’s mandates and methods for the obedient follower wishing to venture into this area. This is why it is on the list of required reading for each new mentor-trainee in our developing program. And it is one of the key components to our blossoming Mentor Program tailored for parents of children with special needs.
*For more on Larry Kreider, visit http://larrykreider.com/