Proactive Discipleship vs. Passive Influence, 5 Keys to Being a Mentor

Ron Cantor —  June 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

I am not going to lie. I much prefer sitting behind a computer, dispatching ‘pearls of wisdom’ instead of actually getting involved in people’s lives. It’s less messy, I don’t have to leave my house and I can enjoy the ‘illusion’ that people are being impacted.

However, this is not the kind of leadership we see modeled by the Messiah. Shockingly, He didn’t have a blog and never wrote a book. And yet, He influenced the world more than any other human being.

What was his secret? He was proactive about making disciples.


  1. He spent a night in prayer asking His Father, into whom should He invest the next years of His life.
  2. He chose 12 men and stuck with them. They fought over who was the greatest—He stuck with’em. They deserted Him when He was arrested—He stuck with them. Even when Simon Peter denied Him—He stuck with them.They were His boys.
  3. From the 12 He chose 3 to whom He gave special attention for greater leadership.
  4. He resisted large crowds and spent most of His time with the 12. They ate together, walked together—and did just about everything together.

Every believer should be investing in someone—if not many people. That doesn’t mean that you have to have a set time, or go through a book together (while those are great tools if you need them!). True discipleship is sharing you life. Letting those you mentor watch you live for Yeshua and model their walk accordingly.

Just watching Yeshua when He was challenged by the religious leaders to stone the woman caught in adultery, was a sermon:

  1. Women have value.
  2. All of us are sinners.
  3. Self-righteousness is worse than even immortally.

I am meeting on Tuesday with an young Israeli husband. Sure, it would be easy to send him a few links to this or that blog and recommend a book, but that is not building the kingdom and that is not what he needs. He needs a friend. While I love social media, nothing can take the place of face to face intentional discipleship.

My mentors never threw one-liners at me or recommended that I read their books. They spent time with me, invested in me and counseled me. This is Yeshua-styled leadership.

What we can do:

  1. Ask the Lord in which few people you should proactively invest yourself? Unless you are in fulltime ministry, I would limit it to three or four people (or couples, if you and your spouse are working as a team).
  2. Meet regularly. Going through a book together, particularly one that has discussion questions for each chapter, can be very helpful.
  3. When you meet, ask these three questions:
    • How is your devotional life?
    • Are you living in victory over sin?
    • How is your witness to the lost?
  4. Be real. Be honest. Don’t present a false, holier than thou facade of yourself. The most attractive quality in a leader is not perfection, but the willingness to be transparent.
  5. Most important, share your live with them. Do things outside the formal meeting. When I was in fulltime traveling ministry, I used to always take young men with me. When we take teams from Israel to Africa, the most intense mentoring takes place outside of the main meetings, over meals or on the plane. As a disciple, some of my fondest memories were traveling with Mike Brown or Dan Juster—and though I enjoy listening to them preach, I got far more from them in the car than in the congregation!

In two weeks, I will be traveling with 40 young Israelis for 10 days. I can’t wait! Discipleship will happen because I will be intentional about it! How about you? It is time for all of us to be intentional about mentoring.

QUESTIONS: How are you making disciples?  What is holding you back? USE THE COMMENTS SECTION.