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September 27th, 2017

Our community group recently gathered to share a meal and talk about God and our journeys with Him in this thing called “life.” Our leader had us break up into groups of two-three, and passed out cards containing a portion of a picture. We were to describe what we thought we had on our piece. Hopefully, in the end, we would be able to figure out the whole picture. As God would have it, I had a pretty big chunk of a picture on my card so I figured I knew the whole picture. It was interesting to see how everyone’s piece fit into the whole. The exercise was a visual illustration of the community of Christ and how we have a clearer picture of who God is when we are together. We might think we have the whole picture of who God is in Christ, but chances are we do not.

This was a great illustration of what happens in Christian community when we come alongside others in Spiritual Mentoring. It’s one person coming alongside another that helps us grow and have a clearer understanding of who God is and what He might want us to know. It’s easy to think we have the whole picture of God in a given situation. Everything can change when someone comes alongside another in their struggles and listens, or asks a good question, or suggests another way of seeing Jesus in the midst of it all.

What does all this have to do with the shepherd’s call in the way of Jesus? Scripture paints many pictures of what a shepherd is and does. A shepherd is one who tends to the welfare of Christ-followers by watching over, nurturing, and guiding them to greater Christ-likeness. A shepherd can be a community group leader or someone involved in a one-on-one relationship. The relationship can be intensive or occasional. These descriptions and more fall under what we call spiritual mentoring. At the Spiritual Mentoring Forum in 2016, we gave an overview of spiritual mentoring models to help us see the breadth of what it looks like at Cedar Mill Bible Church regardless of where we engage in spiritual mentoring/shepherding (make no mistake, we are all under-shepherds to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ). To exercise our calls as shepherds of others, we must be growing in our relationship with Jesus.

We’ve had some great opportunities to learn and grow in our respective calls: from the Journey Launch Training last summer, to the mentoring classes in October, to the Mentoring Forum in November, and the Intentional Community in March. I am convinced Spiritual Mentoring, given and received, is the way of the disciple of Jesus. We are all on this journey with Jesus together.

I am blessed to come alongside others and to have others come alongside me in all seasons of life. I am struck by the impact of a well-placed question that causes me to think about how Jesus wants to stretch me in a new way, or how through the introduction of a new spiritual practice, my identity in Christ and my experience as the beloved of God grows deeper. This is all part of the process and journey of being formed and transformed into the likeness of Jesus as revealed in the Word. God designed us to live in community, to walk with Jesus and become more like Him in every aspect of our lives. We need each other to help us keep on track, have a fuller picture of who God is, and experience God’s love in a deeper way. Jesus said, “people will know that you are my disciples by your love for one another."

We are excited that teaching series starting October 1 will be from the book of James. The wisdom and practicality of James provides great opportunities to love and come alongside each other in various spiritual mentoring relationships. This is all about becoming like Jesus together and making Him known in all of our relationships. We can make Him known through our love, actions, and words in our homes, neighborhoods, the workplace, on the sports field, or anywhere else.

We are on an adventurous journey with Jesus. He has given each of us a part to play in His Kingdom story. What a privilege to be a part of what God is doing in and through us for the sake of His name and His kingdom! If you have any questions about this journey we are on with Jesus, about your own journey with Jesus, or how all this fits together, ask someone. Ask me!