If you know me, you know that I care deeply about discipleship in the local church–I care about it so much because Jesus cares about it. He called us to be disciples who make disciples, and the church is the place where we can most readily and powerfully fulfill this mission, while inviting those who don’t yet know Jesus to join us, too.
My friend and fellow writer, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, recently wrote the book Mentor for Life, which addresses the beauty, power, and necessity of mentoring and discipleship in the church. I’m honored to have an interview with her in this space. Read below, be encouraged, and buy this wonderful book!
Natasha, why did you want to write this book?
The process for Mentor for Life came about quite organically. I was leading a mentoring ministry in my local congregation and it was the type of ministry I wanted to be a part of my whole adult life. I was growing my faith, meeting new people, having interesting conversations, and reading thoughtful kingdom-focused books.
The ministry was important to me so I would frequently talk about it and I wrote about it on my blog and in some of the leadership articles I wrote for Christianity Today. When I would share what we were doing and how I was watching God change people’s lives through mentoring as intentional discipleship, I started hearing people say, I want to be a part of something like that, or I wish there was a ministry like that in my church. I would get messages on my Facebook page, notes in the comments section, or emails from my blog asking for a resource or my curriculum. When I saw this was a need in the church and people were sincerely asking for help, that’s when I sat down to write this book.
What makes Mentor for Life unique, as a book?
Mentor for Life is unique because it addresses mentoring from a perspective of 1-on-1 relationships. It clearly defines mentoring from the kingdom perspective of intentionally making disciples, and we do that within a small group of approximately six mentees and we invest in building quality relationships through intentional learning over a longer period of time (approximately a year). The book is kingdom-focused, it engages the Biblical texts, there is opportunity for theological reflection, it is missional (not just about what we do in the church but how we live among people), and it is challenging.
This book is also personal and relational. Throughout the book, I share about my faith journey, along with the leadership and mentoring lessons I learned while attending the United States Naval Academy and serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.
How do you imagine the book will be used in both an individual and group setting?
Mentor for Life is not necessarily a book to rush through. It is a book to ponder. I have included questions, opportunities for personal reflection, and exercises at the end of each chapter. I encourage the reader to complete those, and I pray that as they go through the book they are not only thinking about starting a mentoring small group or ministry, but they are also asking themselves, “How can I be more intentional in how I live?”
I pray that Mentor for Life is spiritually transformative for every reader and it’s my hope that they will share and model what they learn with others.
I’m grateful to Zondervan for providing me with a copy of this book and to Natasha for sharing her words here. I believe this is an important book for us today and highly encourage you to pick up a copy of the book for yourself–and share it with your church leadership and friends!