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Mentors, Proteges, and Peers

In the Christian life of discipleship, everyone needs a Mentor, a Protege, and a Peer. Or, maybe a whole bunch of each.

A Special Couple

Deanna’s dear friend from college got married a decade ago. Betty was always a delight. And we were elated to welcome Emil into our life as he entered hers. Emil is Filipino. As such, some Filipino cultural practices were a part of their wedding. And they were so cool

Prior to the vows, a ceremonial lace veil was draped over Betty’s head and Emil’s shoulders. This veil is symbolic of the couple being clothed as one. It is a beautiful symbol in its own right—but today I want to focus on the couple that draped this veil on Betty and Emil. They were a special couple—an older couple—who had been walking with the newlyweds through their courtship and engagement. This couple was a source of encouragement, support, a resource, and an example. They were a mentor couple for our dear friends.

A friend once suggested to me that during the “see who’s been married the longest” dance at wedding receptions that the reward ought to be for the newly married and the oldest married to go sit and talk to one another for a couple hours. The wisdom of the experienced, the wonder of the newlywed—putting these togethers would enliven and enrich both couples. 

Three Types of Relationships

One premise of our P.O.P. on Purpose series is that faith and relationships go hand in hand. To put a finer point on our relationships of faith—everyone needs 3 types: a mentor, a protege, and a peer.

A mentor is someone ahead of you. Someone with something you want: a skill, a craft, an insight. You learn by waling with them and watching and trying what they do yourself.

A question for each of us in our discipleship journey is, who is my mentor?” Who is ahead of me on The Way?

Our eyes can not only look ahead. The second type of relationships is a protege. Discipleship is about look for relationships where you can become a mentor. Put more simply, Who are you helping to grow? Who are you pouring into so they can develop and grow as a mature disciple of Jesus? Betty and Emil were the proteges’ of their friends—they poured life into them and showed them an example of what a faithful marriage looks like. 

Finally, life is meant to be lived and loved. The Jesus journey is often marked by hardship and challenge. But we are also reminded that one of the fruit’s of the Spirit is joy. Friends bring joy. We all need a boat load of peers on this journey of life. You switch hats with them from moment to moment. One second you are seeking wisdom and advise and the next you are offering it. Peers walk with you. They laugh with you and sometimes help you laugh at yourself. Peers help you to see more clearly as you hike along The Way. They will sing with you, cry with you, and sit in silence with you. Peers make life worth living. 

Be, go, and Make…

So, as we think about what it means to live into Jesus’ calling to be, go, and make disciples—we trust in the Holy Spirit to lead the charge. And we look for these three relationships to help us navigate faithfulness. Invest some time in prayer about the people in your life who play the role of Mentor, Protege, and Peer. And pray about ways to make these relationship roles a little more intentional as you live out your apprenticeship under Jesus.

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