The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Are You a Mentor?

When the New England Patriots began the 2002 season, they were a group of mostly average players. No one really expected much from the team. Four games into the season, their all-pro quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured and unable to play for the majority of the season. Their win-loss record stood at 1-3. A 23-year-old rookie, Tom Brady, was the replacement for Bledsoe. At the time the season didn’t look promising for the Patriots. The odds makers in Vegas set the odds for the Patriots to win the Superbowl as 10,000 to 1.

However the Patriots became the surprise team of the decade overcoming the odds and winning the Superbowl. There were a number of reasons for their unforeseen success. Many look back on that year and attribute their success to coaching mastermind Bill Belichick. Others look at the now, 4-time Superbowl MVP, 5-time Superbowl champion and future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady as the reason for their success. Still others attribute their winning seasons to the ability of the teammates to play unselfishly and to come together as a team like no one expected.
Those are all accurate reasons for their success, but there is one more significant reason that has been overlooked. That reason is Drew Bledsoe! You may be thinking, “Wait a minute…He was injured and just sat on the sidelines most of the season.” While that is true, one could argue that it is only half true. Yes, Bledsoe was injured and couldn’t play most of the season but he did a lot more than just sit on the sidelines.

As the youngster Brady began to lead the team, Bledsoe quickly became his coach and mentor, working close with him and helping him in any way he could. Even later in the season, when Bledsoe recovered from his injury and was told that Brady was going to continue to start, he didn’t complain or gripe about it but set out to make sure that Brady didn’t make any of the same mistakes he had made as a rookie. This mentor relationship between Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady was a major contribution to the Patriots 2002 Superbowl victory as well as to the continued success of Tom Brady. While Bledsoe was an unsung hero, he still received a Superbowl ring right along with Brady and the team.

Mentors are true heroes in the success of those who are taught. I personally have had mentors in my life who have impacted my ministry in many ways. My father and mother, my professors at Dallas Christian College, church members and other older pastors who advised me along the way have deserved much credit for any success I’ve attained along the way in ministry.

The Apostle Paul was a powerful evangelist and minister of the gospel, but much of his success would not have happened without the mentorship of the lesser-known disciple named Barnabas who took him under his wing and trained him when no one would have anything to do with this former persecutor of the church. Paul mentored young preachers like Titus and Timothy and others in ministry because he knew that the church was one generation from extinction. The church has always been in danger of disappearing from one generation to the next. If it weren’t for mentors discipling others for Christ, it would go away.

This is why you and I must look to pour ourselves into young people for their spiritual growth and future ministry. We need preachers, worship leaders, Sunday School teachers, elders, deacons, trustees, missionaries, and strong disciples for the future. This is why the church has always sought to work in the lives of children and teens.

This Sunday, Paul Acosta, one of our outstanding young men will be preaching in the morning service. He has been leading a Bible Study on Wednesday nights all summer long. Paul assists Josh in some of the youth ministry and has a passion for the ministry. He will go back for his Sophomore year at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri on August 20. There are people in Paul’s family and in his church family who have served to mentor him along the way. These mentors have encouraged him and blessed him with opportunities to serve. Our congregation contributes financially for each semester to Paul’s Christian Education for ministry because we believe in him and because the world needs more Christian Pastors. However, a Bible College education is expensive and what we give is generous, it is only a sliver of the cost. A Bible College is a private institution of higher learning and carries with it those kinds of expenses. I would like to encourage you, as part of his mentorship and sponsoring church family, to help out with this expense.

With Paul’s sermon Sunday and his Bible Study lesson next Wednesday, he will go back to college. If you would like to add to this expense and play an important supporting role in Paul’s future ministry you can make a special donation toward his education this week and, if so inspired, you could make a periodic contribution during the school year. It is easy for those of us who know Paul, to see that God has place a calling on his life for ministry. Let’s encourage him and bless him as we send him forward for training. If you make a check, make it out to FCC on behalf of Paul's education.

As a supporting-mentor of younger disciples of Jesus you play a serious part in the future of, not only that disciple, but also in the future of the Kingdom of God. Do you have a heart for mentorship? Look around you. Who needs your encouragement to serve Jesus. You might just be a mentor God can use.

Looking to the future with you,

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