But how? I met with students and friends over coffee, and I wondered if addressing whatever they were going through would cover what they needed to know. What was I missing that could trip them later on in their race? When I planned a topic to study together, often they came with their own questions: What did Christ teach about getting along with an unfair supervisor? How do I stop sinning—how do I change? How do I order my time around my new priorities like prayer; what are my priorities as a Christian? I couldn't always remember where the Bible treated the questions they brought up. Going back to the subject later wasn't quite the same—the teachable moment was gone. In addition, people we had invested in who wanted to pass on what they had learned, moved on from our ministry without the tools to do so.
These questions boiled down to four criteria that focused my search—and describe why Tools for Mentoring exists. I wanted a resource that established spiritual growth goals, had a flexible format suitable for individual needs, made Bible studies and passages quickly accessible, and equipped people to pass on what they'd learned. My search was unsuccessful.
I began compiling a list of topics people need to work through to develop trustworthy character, healthy relationships, and biblical priorities. I asked questions like: What has freed me from hindrances that encumbered my life? What has freed others to run life's race well? Dick's teachings, my files of sermon notes and articles, and Winkie Pratney's Youth Aflame provided direction and abundant content.
After four years of writing and field testing in six campus ministries, Tools for Mentoring was published in 2000 as a six pound, 600 page, 19 section, three-ring binder. Shortly thereafter, we offered it on a CD-ROM. (Much easier to ship!) Now, it's revised and significantly expanded as an e-book. The e-book format and features amplify its innovative qualities—comprehensive, flexible, accessible, and transferable.
The 19 modules in Tools for Mentoring provide a window to my personal journey with Jesus, and that of hundreds of others. It's a journey lived out in authentic community with His followers, and with abandoned dependence on the Holy Spirit's grace and power. I offer them to you as my partner in supporting others' spiritual growth. These 19 topics, I believe, are among those that determine whether or not we finish life's race well. If we continually apply biblical principles and encourage others to do the same, we'll be better equipped to run life's race unhindered by needless baggage.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,…. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
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