Coming Alongside Another Leader – 1
For many leaders, the presence of a wiser, more experienced leader who can come alongside and help them not only survive but thrive in their current labors for Christ is immensely helpful. What does an ‘alongsider’ do and who best qualifies to serve in this capacity?
In John 16 Jesus describes the role and function of the Holy Spirit – the Paraclete – who would come alongside of believers after Jesus was gone. He says in John 16:13-15 (NIV): “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” [italics added] These three alongsider functions of the Spirit can help those of us who seek to come alongside others to mentor, coach, equip, and help them.
The first function Jesus mentions is that of ‘guiding.’ The Spirit guides believers to truth. In our post-modern world, those we help desperately need to be able to discern truth from error, fact from fiction. They must be reminded of our second Core Value – The truth and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the whole of life. The Bible is sufficient for equipping us to labor for a life-time! We will want to not only help them understand the Word, but also help them apply it to their lives.
The second function Jesus mentions is one of ‘speaking.’ But note that this is not just any speaking. It is speaking only what the Spirit hears from Jesus. As we mentor and equip others we want to be very careful to speak what the Word says, pointing them to the authority of the Scriptures for our laboring in life and practice. It can be tempting to add our own thoughts to the simplicity and clarity of the Word, especially with an eager listener. James reminds us that those who teach others will be held to a higher standard – both by men and God when He evaluates our service (James 3:1; Hebrews 13:7). This sobering reminder should give us pause before we add our own thoughts.
Having said this, one strength of having experience and maturity in the Lord is that we can illustrate from our own lives and ministries how the Lord helped us or others when we are in similar circumstances. Just be careful how much you ‘share’ for the Spirit is very capable of communicating all that Jesus says with or without our help! Be slow to speak and quick to listen!
The third function of the Spirit Jesus mentions is that of ‘glorifying.’ We see that He specifically glorifies Jesus and not Himself. This is so very important that we also point others to the reality that Jesus will never leave them, always be faithful to them, and give them all they need to accomplish all He desires in and through them. Jesus IS the answer!