Skills Passed from Spiritual Fathers Seen in How Sports Skills are Passed Down
Several years into my son’s soccer playing he finally got a coach that talked about “first touch.” This is a crucial soccer concept that needs to be trained into a player from an early age, yet, years into my son being on teams, we were just now hearing about it.
I, as his father, didn’t know enough about soccer to impart some of these concepts, nor did I make sure he had a coach that would develop it in him. As my son got older, I realized that some of the dads clearly knew how to do this for their kids. They had found coaches – mentors – who could teach and impart great soccer skills into a child.
Skills are passed from mentor to disciple when the mentor is sufficiently equipped.
Spiritual Skills Passed
In the Body of Christ there have not been a sufficient number of mentors that can genuinely lead people into spiritual maturity. For example, how many Christians have truly successful marriages, have the desire to mentor others in that, and know how to impart their skills to newlyweds?
I believe we need to place more value on mentorship. Not the controlling or manipulative type, but mentoring in the good old fashioned way as a carpenter or an electrician gets trained in their field. In the church, however, preaching too often lifts up standards with great passion, yet with few “how to” steps to actually get there. In this type of exhortative environment, it can be communicated that it’s not okay to have a marriage problem, a child on drugs, or a host of other “bad” attributes. It subtly implies that something is wrong with you if you are not measuring up to the standard.
When it comes to mentoring, or what I like to call “fathering,” there are numerous spiritual skills that can be passed down. Here are just a few ideas:
- How to spend time with God to the point of hearing Him for what you need.
- How to walk in covering love using good people skills.
- How to minister one-on-one to others.
- How to overcome wounding and emotional pain.
Think again of the soccer coach who identifies the needed skills of one of his players and works with him on specific exercises to develop it. Then he reviews the player’s movements during games until he can implement the skills.
I believe spiritual skills can also be imparted in this same way!
Calling Spiritual Fathers
The apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:15, “we have not many fathers.” I believe this is the call of God for the church in this hour. Even as a coach or an apprentice’s master passes down skills, those mature Christians who know God, who walk in love and excellence in their people skills, and who know how to minister to others, need to step out and mentor, or “father” those around them.
I have a new book coming out soon, Fathering Leadership – Creating A Culture of Growth, which covers this topic extensively. As soon as this is available, I will let you know. Imagine how the church – and the un-churched – would respond to leaders mentoring others with a mature “fathering” spirit.