Twenty-four years ago, as I was entering ministry, I knew I needed a mentor. I needed someone to help me navigate the waters of ordained ministry. I knew no one, and I knew nothing of what pastoring would mean, other than the theories I learned at seminary. So, I asked for an appointment as an associate in a larger congregation. My mentor became the lead pastor of the church I served, Rev. Mark Nordell. He truly mentored me by teaching me and guiding me in the adventure of my first appointment in ministry.
We all need mentors in the faith. We all need people who will help us navigate the waters of our faith adventure. Who have your faith mentors been? Mark wasn’t my only mentor. There was my grandmother, whom you will hear me quote often. She was a practical and faithful woman who was in worship with me every Sunday for the first 10 years of my life. My father was also a faith mentor. He would quietly live out of his faith so I could witness and see what it was like to be a faithful follower. He would speak of life in terms of where God was in the midst of things. He would routinely tell us about the devotions he had been reading. He would be sure that we maintained both a mealtime and bedtime prayer life, as well as regularly attend worship and serve through our local church. There was also my philosophy professor from undergraduate school, a Quaker woman who mentored me by teaching me to question and wonder about everything I was taught and was being taught. I could go on – there have been many mentors in my faith life. Who have your faith mentors been?
Not only do we need people who stand before us and lead by mentoring, but we also need folks who will stand alongside of us and be with us on our faith journey. We need spiritual friends with whom we can honestly be who we are. We need spiritual friends who can help us journey toward more fully loving God and neighbor and self. We need companions. We need shipmates on the adventure of faith. Do you have shipmates? Do you know why you need them? Are you a shipmate to someone else?
Join me this Sunday as we continue to explore the adventure that is faith in Jesus Christ as we see what our biblical seafarers, Noah, Jonah and Peter, have to teach us about the importance of having shipmates.
See you in worship on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink