The concepts of discipleship and mentoring keep grabbing my attention from various corners. Two weeks ago, DesiringGod’s David Mathis posted Billy Graham’s response to this questions, “If you were a pastor of a large church in a principal city, what would be your plan of action?”:
I think one of the first things I would do would be to a get a small group of eight or ten or twelve people around me that would meet a few hours a week and pay the price!
It would cost them something in time and effort. I would share with them everything I have, over a period of years. Then I would actually have twelve ministers among the laypeople who in turn could take eight or ten or twelve more and teach them.
I know one or two churches that are doing that, and it is revolutionizing the church.
Christ, I think, set the pattern. He spent most of his time with twelve men. He didn’t spend it with a great crowd. In fact, every time he had a great crowd it seems to me that there weren’t too many results. The great results, it seems to me, came in this personal interview and in the time he spent with his twelve.
In 1919, a young man who had been injured in the war in Europe moved to Chicago, picking one particular neighborhood in order to be close to the noted author Sherwood Anderson. The young writer, impressed with the critical praise heaped on Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, had heard the novelist was willing to assist beginning writers. The two men became close. They met every day to read together, exploring the writing of newspapers and magazines, and eventually tearing apart the inner workings of novels. The young man brought his own work to Anderson, who helped him see how he could improve his craft. Anderson even introduced the young writer to his network of publishing associates, and helped him publish his first novel, which was met with critical acclaim. Its title was The Sun Also Rises. The young man’s name was Ernest Hemingway.
Sherwood Anderson then moved to New Orleans, where he took another young author through those same paces, even putting up $300 of his own money to help that beginning writer’s first novel get published. The novel was entitled Soldier Pay. The author’s name was William Faulkner. Anderson would then move to California, where he worked with a young writer by the name of John Steinbeck.
Sherwood Anderson shaped modern American writing more profoundly than any author except Mark Twain. Most of the writing instructors of the late 20th Century were, in one way or another, disciples of Anderson. (paragraphs added)