This Book Will Have the Most Impact on My Ministry This Year

I believe that mentoring relationships should be at the core of any discipleship program, and they are the foundation of my own ministry. Spiritual direction is something I approach with with a degree of fear and trembling (cf. Matt 18:6), so I’m always on the lookout for resources to help me be better at what I do.

Mentor Like Jesus was hands-down the most influential book I read for my ministry last year. As I wrote in my review, it’s geared toward older men in a different stage of life than me and the guys I mentor, but the principles are solid and can be applied to anyone looking to disciple a group of others using a model similar to the one Jesus used with his own inner circle.

When it comes to giving spiritual advice and developing one on one relationships, Spiritual Mentoring by Keith R. Anderson and Randy D. Reese is just as important. Drawing on the rich Christian tradition of spiritual direction, it provides a much-needed framework for guiding others into a deeper relationship with God.

The book features profiles and selected readings from some of the most renowned spiritual directors in Christian history, including Augustine, Aelred of Rievaulx, and John of the Cross. Each figure takes a different approach to the task of being a spiritual guide for others, and each brings something very valuable to the table. For example, Teresa of Avila’s metaphor of the seven rooms of the heart was particularly insightful to me as way of understanding the “movements” of the heart toward God, and the thirty-day program for guided contemplation from Ignatius gave me a possible structure for starting new formal relationships.

Spiritual Mentoring is a must-read for anyone who finds themselves giving spiritual advice and entering into relationships where they either formally or informally serve as a spiritual guide. While it is not a “blueprint” or “step-by-step” guide by any means, the authors provide theological grounding and practical help for giving and receiving spiritual direction that is anchored in ancient wisdom.

Just as Mentor Like Jesus transformed how I work with mentor groups, Spiritual Mentoring has already been key for me as I plan how to be most effective in my one-on-one mentoring relationships.

There’s no doubt that it will shape vital aspects of my ministry this year, and I think it could do the same for yours.