6 Essential Reasons Why You Need a Mentor

"Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance" (Proverbs 11:14).

I am halfway through my life, but I still need others to invest in me. I want other believers to walk beside me and I think it's a necessity for us all.

Let me tell you why.

1. God created you to be in relationship with others.

Sometimes we have the tendency to become "lone ranger Christians" who work too many hours and fight too many battles alone. Frankly, we all need someone who can help point the way and provide some stability in day-to-day spiritual living.

A good mentor will teach, counsel, motivate, coach, lead and advise you within the context of a relationship. This relationship should be less like an instanteous upload and more like a slow, gradual osmosis. It takes time.

2. Everyone needs accountability.

No matter your age, spiritual maturity or life experience, holy living is hard for everyone—not just because we're errant humans but because life simply never slows down.

Our busyness ebbs and flows.

Sometimes our temptations do too. We all need someone who can hold us accountable to godliness and discipline during all seasons of life.

3. There's always room for improvement in our relationships.

The older I get, the more I realize I still have much to learn about relationships.

Pam and I have been married almost 24 years, but I am still figuring out how to be a good husband. In each new season of life, relationships change.

For example, I have never walked the path I am on now—our physical needs are different, our long-term goals are becoming more present tense and care for our own parents has become a priority. I need someone who has walked this way before so that I can avoid the pitfalls and trouble spots. 

4. Everyone needs vocational guidance.

It doesn't matter if you're just getting started in the workforce or if you've been in one industry for 30 years, it's important to have someone—or a group of people—who can guide you through all stages of your employment.

If God allows, I still have many years of employment ahead—but I am recognizing the wisdom of those who, 30 years ago, encouraged me to invest and be patient.

Now I want help making the best decisions in the final decades of employment. Do we invest differently? Do we plan toward a retirement home? Do we think about settling closer to our families? The viewpoints of others who have navigated these waters would be helpful.

5. It's important to lead and to follow.

It's important to lead and guide others in the faith—to have a relationship similar to the one Paul and Timothy had. In 1 Timothy 1:2, Paul addressed Timothy as his "true son in the faith." Your "Timothy" is someone who learns from you, follows your example and thus models Christ.

But I also want to model for my mentees the need to follow someone else. We all need a Paul who pushes us to be our best for God's glory.

6. "Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance" (Proverbs 11:14).

I want to make certain I end well. I suppose those words might sound morbid, but my point is simply that I do not want to mess up during the final years of my ministry and service. I have watched too many older men ruin their reputations in their latter years by making poor choices and displaying bad attitudes.

I want to know when to press forward in my work and when to step aside for younger men to take the lead—but I need other brothers in Christ to help me see myself and my situation clearly.

Chuck Lawless is the author of Mentor: How Along-the-Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life. He is dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary and serves as global theological education consultant at the International Mission Board.