Why Tools for Mentoring?

Maybe these thoughts have crossed your mind. I want to help my friends grow spiritually but I wonder if addressing whatever they want to talk about covers all they need to know. What am I missing that could trip them later on in their race? When I plan a topic to study together, often they come with their own questions. I’m not always sure where to find what the Bible says about their questions, and going back to the subject later isn’t quite the same—the teachable moment is gone. Besides, I really don’t have much time to prepare.

Tools for Mentoring exists to resolve those issues. It’s a start-anywhere spiritual road map of 19 topics that I believe determine whether or not we finish life’s race well. Do them in any order and you will still cover the foundational issues of trustworthy character, healthy relationships, and biblical priorities. Each module is splintered into stand-alone sections. It’s flexible—you can choose a TFM section specific to your friend and, with a few clicks, switch to a different one if the conversation warrants it. The Bible studies are ready to use (no prep time) and easily accessible. If you just need a Scripture passage, at the end of each module is a list of all the Scriptures referred to, plus more on that topic. As an e-book, it’s paperless, portable, & easily navigable on your phone or device. Just get a Kindle app. In addition, the friends you invest in have a tool to pass on what they’ve learned—TFM is transferable.

TFM helps make learning mutual. Take turns reading the Scriptures and teaching portions. Every couple of paragraphs, share with each other what stands out to you. It’s great for peer discipleship because you don’t have to already know something to pass it on to a friend—you learn together. One leader said, “TFM functions as the unbiased third party that calls the students and me to sincere repentance, radical love for Jesus, and daily obedience.”

Why People Use Tools for Mentoring

Because of Tools for Mentoring, I was able to pay off one fourth of my student loans this summer by simply going over the practical steps in the financial management module. Very well written and very practical. Highly recommended. S. M.

Tools for Mentoring is helping our one-on-one discipleship time to have a more lasting impact because the students read the module on their own and then they bring it to our time together. Students have time to pray and decide how they are going to respond to God's truth without me having to be the "bearer of bad news" when it comes to places of needed growth in their lives.  Chi Alpha campus missionary

The Suffering module gave me a firm foundation to process a tremendous loss I experienced some time later. I’m so thankful I internalized those truths—my faith in a good God was unshaken with the event. J

I've been mentored using Tools for Mentoring, and now I have the privilege to mentor others with it. It’s well thought out, practical, and presents topics in a way that is simple to understand and does not “water down" the meaning. The simple cartoons used throughout the book are great and meaningful, and the text is not too wordy; every word was thoughtfully chosen. I would probably not have used TFM if it was not an e-book, made for easy access from my computer. R. B. student leader

Tools for Mentoring takes seemingly difficult matters such as overcoming sin and makes them easy to understand. It is full of practical ways of dealing with spiritual matters which removes the anxiety and stress of changing for the better. J. J.

I learned through Tools for Mentoring to understand the Bible at a deeper level. It has allowed me to pull more truths about God out of the Bible and apply them to my life. J.

I am a university student. Tools for Mentoring has helped me in one-on-one discipleship to answer the girls' questions, walk them through different areas in their lives, and also it has been great for my own walk as well. I take Tools for Mentoring with me everywhere I go—it’s on my phone—because you never know when you are going to get into a conversation and need a great reference. The modules are easy to follow and it explains things in a way that everyone can understand and relate to. It will help you obey Jesus' command of making disciples. M. M.

I prayed with my friend as he repented through the Moral Inventory. When he was done, he smiled the biggest smile and said, “I’m free!” T. L.

The pictures with explanations in Tools for Mentoring help explain spiritual concepts. I also enjoy having practical next steps to apply every concept it teaches.

I am using Tools for Mentoring for one-on-one discipleship with my student leaders.  It has been great at addressing areas to grow in no matter how spiritually mature the leader is.  Because TFM is so thorough, it gives space and opportunity to address areas that the student may not have considered growing in yet.  The student gets freedom to pick which modules they want to address in our one-on-ones and it has been awesome to see how the Holy Spirit is challenging them to go deeper.  Chi Alpha campus missionary

Tools for Mentoring really helped me understand how to respond to authority in a respectful way. It was very insightful. I like how the verses are at the end of each module. I love the study questions and how much they make us think. P.

The Tools for Mentoring Story

As a Christ-follower and as a campus pastor, I purposed to follow Jesus’ model of investing His Kingdom’s principles in a few faithful people, who invested in others. The apostle Paul’s restatement of Jesus’ method became my husband Dick’s and my guiding passage: And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

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 such as: 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. In fact 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 you continually apply biblical principles and encourage others to do the same, you—and they—will be better equipped to run life’s race unhindered by needless baggage.