Undercover Mentor: Redeeming the Everyday

By M.R. Conrad

Nelson Knode was supposed to be teaching me trumpet. He did that, and he did it well. But Nelson did so much more than teach me trumpet. He was my undercover mentor.

My Undercover Mentor

“I want to walk with Jesus,” Nelson told the ten-year-old me, his blue eyes a bit overly intense. I never knew the professional trumpeter without snow-white hair. In my mind, wrinkles had always creased his face. And his mantra never changed, “I want to walk with Jesus.”

My trumpet lesson was half trumpet technique and half discipleship. Since we met every Sunday after church in the church basement, I guess that made sense. I often could not tell where Nelson’s musical pedagogy ended and his sermon began. Some of the stories he told to prove his points would fit either option.

Nelson didn’t just talk: he modeled what he taught whether it be in trumpet performance or the Christian life. Now, years after my teacher went to be with the Lord, people hear me play the trumpet and say that it uniquely sounds like Nelson Knode. His wife says it to this day. I hope a clear tone in my trumpet playing is not all that rubbed off. Like Nelson, I want to walk with Jesus too.

God used Nelson Knode to mentor me. At the time, I didn’t see it that way. I was just making loud noises in the church basement. But it has got me thinking—who could I influence in the everyday tasks of life to walk closer with God? Could there be more substance—an eternal aspect—to the relationships in which God has placed me?

1055 reads

In Our Discipling Relationships, Best-Sellers Are Great . . . But the Bible Is Best

"...pastors and theologians have used the catchy acronym S.C.A.N to summarize four important attributes of the Bible: its sufficiency, clarity, authority, and necessity. In this article, I want to explain what those attributes mean and how they should shape how we disciple others." - 9 Marks

291 reads

Making Disciples Jesus’ Way

By Rich Van Heukelum

“If you can see your target, you have a better chance of hitting it.
If you can watch an expert, you have a better chance of doing it well.”
—Source Unknown

My father was part of the US Army during WWII. One day I saw his uniform in the closet and noticed a sharpshooter medal. When I asked him about it, he told of the day he won that recognition. He had been firing rapidly and doing okay. Then his trainer told him to slow down and take time to aim for each shot. Effective shooting requires knowing not only what the target is but also how to shoot.

One of the great encouragements of our day is a renewed focus on the mission of the church. Taglines and mission statements ooze with “making disciples” and capture the essence of the Great Commission. So we know what our target is. But do we know how to reach it?

Knowledge Is Not Enough

James consistently warned of the danger of knowing and saying but not doing (James 1:22; 2:14). His warning reminds us believers that we often think we have fulfilled a command because we know and talk about it. In that respect, some might think they are making disciples because they can clearly state, and are active in a church with, a great mission statement. Pastors are not exempt from this danger of knowing and saying but not actually doing.

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Why We Need Deep Discipleship

"In Deep Discipleship, English contends that our discipleship is anemic; ...we need more teaching discipleship in our churches, not less. He notes we’re actually fairly competent at the relational aspect of discipleship (77–78); and yet, while community is an indispensable part of discipleship, it isn’t discipleship by itself (83, 96, 204)." - TGC

1085 reads

“Now, all you have to do is…” – The 7 Most Dangerous Words in Evangelism

"...while the phrase, 'Now, all you have to do is…' aims to highlight the vital truth that redemption is complete in Christ, I believe it actually serves as an unhelpful—and, at times, even dangerous—Christian catchphrase." - Facts & Trends

482 reads

The Blame Game and Spiritual Preparedness

I do a lot of reading, as you probably know. Right now, I am reading a splendid book on the subject of apologetics titled, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, by Nancy Pearcey.

Unfortunately, despite the amazing nature of this book, the author makes the same mistake I have heard repeated time and time again: the claim that our churches do not prepare our youth with the answers to the questions and challenges they will face in college.

The reason for this lack of preparedness (I would argue) is not necessarily a lack of opportunity. Many students don’t want answers to questions (before they face a crisis), because it takes too much mental effort to think things through. Even if present where the big questions are thoroughly addressed, some may be uninterested and daydream the opportunity away. Such issues do not seem relevant at the time.

It is not until those students are pressured in college that they realize they do not have an answer, or that disturbing questions even exist. In most cases, answers are available—if you know where to find them. But if you haven’t learned at least some of those answers beforehand, it is easy to conclude that there are no answers. (Incidentally, this is why it is crucial for college students to be involved in organizations like Cru/Campus Crusade, Navigators, or Intervarsity; those organizations can often steer inquirers to quick and at-hand resources).

1686 reads