Mentors Matter

“Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”  (2 Kings 12:2)

Joash “came to power” at the ripe old age of seven.  His life can be divided into two stark contrasting periods:

  • The time when Jehoiada was high priest. – Joash was instrumental in restoring the temple and reinstituting its services.
  • The period following Jehoiada’s priesthood  – Joash was instrumental in reinstituting the worship of Asherah poles and idols

What went wrong?

Joash’s life teaches two important lessons about mentoring.  First, his life illustrates the tremendous impact a godly mentor can have on a leader.  As verse two tells us, as long as Jehoiada was there to coach and counsel Joash, Joash did what was right.  While Jehoiada was alive, Joash inspired the people to give sacrificially to the temple restoration campaign.  With the funds in hand he was able to see that the temple was restored from neglect and vandalism.  Most importantly, with Jehoiada at his side, Joash was able to reinstitute the long neglected burnt offerings. 

However, Joash’s life teaches a lesson; what can happen when a leader has no mentor.  Like Joash, a leader with no mentor can easily succumb to bad advice.  After Jehoiada had died, Joash “listened to others”.  He abandoned the temple and shortly thereafter his people fell to worshiping foreign gods.

KEY: A good financial mentor is an invaluable resource to a pastor.  This is true regardless of the experience level of the minister. From just beginning in ministry to closing in on retirement, every pastor, at every stage of life, needs financial counsel they can rely on.  Unfortunately, most pastors have limited knowledge and experience about money and management.  Because of these limitations, no pastor can afford to play “Lone Ranger.”  Someone a pastor can confide in and rely on is essential.  But, care must be exercised in selecting the right guide.

  • A mentor should not be chosen on financial ability or business acumen alone.  The mentor needs to be someone on a spiritual journey himself.  Just because a person is good in business doesn’t mean he will be good for the church.  One thing needs to be remembered; the pastor needs to seek out godly business counsel. 
  • A pastor also needs to choose someone who will shoot straight with him.  “Yes men” will get you nowhere.  (Actually they will get you somewhere you don’t want to be!)  Good counsel is sometimes painful, but it is still essential.  A pastor needs someone who will give him the truth, the bad as well as the good. 

Noted theologian Dr. Howard Hendricks describes this type of person as a Barnabas.  “Someone who loves you, but is not impressed with you.”  In short, someone who will shoot straight with you.

With these ingredients, a mentor can help the pastor interpret the financial times of his church.  A mentor will help guide the minister into good decisions and assist the pastor in “doing what is right.” 

Verne Hargrave is the Church and Ministry partner at PSK LLP and author of the book, Weeds in the Garden.

The Title "Mentors Matter"1 

[1] Excerpt from, Practical Aspects of Pastoral Theology. Christopher Cone Th.D Ph.D (Editor), Tyndale Seminary Press. You can find the book at Amazon.com

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