Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. —1 Corinthians 11:1
A year ago, my doctor didn’t tell me to begin mountain biking, but he did say, “You’d better find some type of exercise program that you like or you’re going to die.” (Fields paraphrase.) I told my wife what my doctor said and she told me, “If you don’t find an exercise program you like, I may kill you before you have a chance to die.” So, with that external motivation, I borrowed a bike from a friend and got started.
After my first ride, I realized mountain biking is not like the type of bike riding I did when I was a kid. It’s not “jump on a bike and ride all day.” It’s much different! In addition to the extreme terrain, there are so many moving parts that add to the confusion: 3 front sprockets, 5 or 6 back sprockets, 2 brake levers, and 4 shifting systems.
A year later, I’m still mountain biking. I now have my own mountain bike, along with a helmet, shoes, clothes, gloves, and most of the gear that is “required” for this sport. Still, even on today’s ride, I thought about how little I know about this sport/hobby. I have so many technical questions. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have the slightest idea what to do or when to do it. In other words, I have everything I need except…expert coaching to get answers to my questions.
As I was riding and reflecting on my need for a coach/mentor, I began to think about newer Christians (younger either in age or maturity, or both). It occurred to me that much like I need a riding coach, they need a “Jesus coach.” Just as mountain biking is more complex than jumping on a bike and pedaling, following Jesus is far more complex than a simple instruction to “go to church.”
Could it be that we have become comfortable in welcoming newer Christians, but we’re not so good at coaching them on how to walk with Jesus? Are we unintentionally sending them the message, “Figure it out on your own”?
What a huge impact we could have if we begin to see ourselves as mentors, as “Jesus coaches”! Just think of how we might expand the work God is doing in the world if we just help newer Christians learn how to follow Jesus!
You might be saying to yourself, Sounds good, Doug…except I don’t know how to be a “Jesus coach.” Trust me, I understand. But, let me reassure you: being a “Jesus coach” is less about trying to work a discipleship program and more about intentionally building relationships with others for the purpose of role modeling. That means living out your faith in front of them and sharing your life with them. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul was doing when he said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Remember, to a newer Christian, you have more experience in faith than he/she has. To her or him, you are the expert!
Learning to walk with Jesus is an adventure, but it’s one that requires more help and coaching than we’re probably offering. So, become a “Jesus coach” to someone. Newer Christians need you…a coaching, listening, loving, and caring you.
1. Who has mentored you to become a more mature Christian? Email, text, or call a mentor, just to say “thank you.”
2. In your life, who is a newer Christian that could benefit from your coaching right now?
Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 4:12; Acts 18:24-27