The silver thread in the warp and weft of discipleship

Titus 1.4, 2.3-4, 2.11-15

Warp and weft are the two basic components used in weaving to turn thread or yarn into fabric. The lengthwise or longitudinal warp yarns are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom while the transverse weft (sometimes woof) is drawn through and inserted over-and-under the warp. (Wikipedia)

One single thread cannot be separated from the whole material.  It adds to the whole and finds its place within it, enhancing its strength and beauty.

A silver thread running through Paul’s letter to Titus is the place of mentors in discipleship and growth in godliness.  Paul was himself a mentor to Titus.  Titus, a gentile, became a Christian through Paul’s ministry hence he terms him his true son. ‘To Titus, my true son in our common faith.’ Titus 1.4 The term, true son, indicates that the relationship was more than simply one of preacher and convert.  Titus had grown up in the faith as a child grows up, under Paul’s guidance and in close relationship as a child does with a loving father.  For such a relationship to exist it had to be long standing, intimate and trusting. For such confidence to exist that Paul would leave the ordering of the churches in Crete and the appointment of elders v 1.5 to Titus, he would have needed evidence of his reliability, which indeed he had.  Not only had Titus been Paul’s companion on missionary journeys he had shown independent reliability in taking Paul’s letter, known as 2 Corinthians, to Corinth and supervising the restoration of relationships and growth of the church in Corinth.  He then went on to raise a collection in Corinth, where they had previously been reluctant, for the Christians in Jerusalem that Paul personally delivered.

Paul was an older man to Titus’ young man and thus a model of the types of mentoring relationships he advocates to the church in Crete.  A key principle in Titus is that healthy doctrine should produce holiness and good works.  Titus was to teach what accords to sound doctrine, v 2.1 but then what we discover as we read on is that what accords to sound doctrine is not a theological statement but a description of conduct and character. Mentoring is meant to impact the whole life of the Christian including family life, work life, our friendships and our conduct within the church.

It is clear that there is particular place for the mentor and mentee relationship to be between two people of the same gender.  ‘Older women like-wise are to be reverent in bahaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children …’ Titus 2.3,4 Mentoring is not only to be done by what is said it is to be by example.

A mentor’s credibility is established by the consistency of the example they set.  Thus, Paul urges Titus to, ‘urge the younger men to be self-controlled.  Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

All of this is to be achieved through the grace of God.  It is an ongoing process and it has an eventual goal.  That goal is, ‘the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ Titus 2.13 Being both a mentor and a mentee is part of our training in godliness. Titus 2.12

Who has been a mentor to you and who have your mentored?

Do you actively seek to be in a mentoring relationship?

How can you encourage mentoring relationships in your church?

A valuable book if you are interested in the theme is –

Organic Discipleship: Mentoring Others Into Spiritual Maturity and Leadership (Revised Edition) by Dennis McCallum, Jessica Lowery

Oceans (Acoustic) – Hillsong United

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