If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back –
‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And, if perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.
Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn,
That when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.
O friend, call back and tell me, for I cannot see your face.
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race.
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.
But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky-
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back-
‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.
Author Melissa Kruger attributes reading this poem entitled ‘Call Back’ in the early 1990’s, as the stimulus to spur her on the journey of ‘calling back’ & encouraging younger women in the faith through the ‘blessed and privileged task’ of mentoring.
If you, like Melissa Kruger, desire to take mentoring beyond small talk and prayer requests; this book must be on your buy and read list.
On Christian bookshop shelves around the world you will find scores of books about spiritual mothering, female discipleship & mentoring. Whatever label you give it, mentoring is a noble task mature christian women can take on as they seek to live out the commands found in the Bible. “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children.” Titus 2:3-4
Using the analogy of two trees of varied age growing alongside each other, the older more stable tree giving the younger tree support just by standing there, Kruger writes, “Essentially the mentoring relationship is one in which a younger woman is tethered to a more mature believer for a season so that she might grow firm in her faith and be equipped for ministry. Just as the older tree doesn’t make the younger tree grow (the water and the sun do that), the mentor isn’t responsible for the spiritual growth of the mentee (God does that). She’s simply standing beside the younger woman, offering the strength she’s gained as God has grown her through the years.”
Kruger goes further than just defining mentoring by explaining how the pursuit of developing these spiritual relationships build the kingdom of God; It equips women for future ministry in the hopes of building up the body of Christ, it assists in nurturing unity & developing spiritual maturity, and it ultimately brings glory to God.
After the first two introductory chapters which explore the concepts of mentoring, chapter three is where the rubber hits the proverbial road. Page thirty-nine is where you’ll find this book different from the many mentoring books you have on your bookshelf; it leaves the definitions and theory behind and becomes refreshingly practical.
The remainder of the book consist of nine chapters ‘providing a curriculum of sorts to help guide your time together’. Growing Together was written to be used in a one-to-one or small group setting. It’s suggested to meet once a month, every other week or weekly, finding a day and schedule that works best for the participants as you work through the study.
The chapters are arranged in a way that will encourage balanced spiritual growth with topics focussing not only on God (bible reading, prayer and contentment), but also God’s people (church, family and service) and the world (evangelism, temptation and discernment.)
Kruger explains that each chapter is only an introduction on each of the topics and are there to serve as conversation starters, with an appendix with further reading suggestions for each chapter if you’d like to delve a little deeper.
Who could you come alongside and mentor?
Who could come alongside you and be your mentor?
Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requestsis published and available through Crossway. It is available through good local christian bookshops, on Kindle through Amazon or as an Audible audio book.?
Image source from Unsplash.com
All quotes taken from the book are italicised.