Timothy is introduced for the first time in Acts 16:1 as someone who was “well spoken of by the brethren.” Not much
is said of the first exchange between Timothy and his future mentor Paul, but over the course of the next several years, Timothy experienced ministry, travel, and even imprisonment at the side of the man who would become his spiritual father.
Timothy dealt with issues that many emerging leaders face. Read through the following verses, asking yourself if any of the characteristics of young Timothy are true for you:
loneliness (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
trying to relate to older leaders (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
feeling content (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
lack of confidence (2 Timothy 1:5-7)
seeking freedom from old habits (2 Timothy 2:22)
staying doctrinally pure (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
Christian tradition holds that after Paul died, Timothy settled in Ephesus leading the church and guiding their doctrine and character. Paul’s words to Timothy were a gift to him at a crucial point in his ministry. Through his spiritual friendship with Paul, Timothy was able to overcome doubts and tendencies that are typical among emerging leaders. His passion for serving the church well was developed in the context of mentorship.
THOUGHTS FOR LEADERS
Many would-be leaders never get the opportunity to enjoy their passion – not because of a lack of competence, but because of a lack of character. God uses mentorship to refine raw tendencies, allowing emerging leaders to better understand their passion.
Look for ways to test your passion in different contexts. Engage different types of ministry. Talk (and listen) to people. Develop the discipline of discernment. Rather than striking out on your own, spend time forging intentional spiritual friendships with seasoned believers who can help you grow.
It’s difficult to imagine Timothy without Paul. With so much at stake, why do you think many emerging leaders are hesitant to engage in an idea like mentoring?
Who do you think enjoyed their mentoring relationship more – Paul or Timothy?
Is there anyone in your sphere of influence (church, home, community, etc.) whose friendship would spiritually benefit you? How can you initiate that relationship?
2 Timothy 1:5-7