The late Dr. Anthony Casurella was my mentor during the years of my MA in Biblical Literature (1993-96), specializing in New Testament. A world-class NT scholar who had been mentored by none other than C.K. Barrett of Durham University, he likened mentoring to two learners walking along on the same path. The mentor is farther down the path and helps the learner along, showing him the way, teaching skills and modeling appropriate attitudes, while also showing how to use the tools of the trade.
As Dr. Casurella’s student, I was exposed to everything a NT PhD student would learn, but not at the same depth. It was not simply a theoretical process, but practical as well. He showed me through demonstration and walked alongside me as I attempted the various skills.
He apprenticed me.
For example, in NT Textual Criticism (the hardest class I took in my entire academic career, including all the languages and all my doctoral work), he systematically modelled each skill and then guided us in adding it to our arsenal. Each week we had a major paper due. The shortest was 15 pages; the longest about 67 pages.
When I became his part-time Research Scholar the following year, I was able to conduct primary research without his constant oversight. The result was a 300 page analysis of the critical apparatus of One Peter.
Because Dr. Casurella apprenticed me the entire previous two years.
Are you willing to make that kind of commitment to people God entrusts to your leadership in your local ministry? What might it look like for them? For you? What should be your first steps for moving in that direction?
What if you were to try the following?
I do- You watch
I do- You help
You do- I help
You do- I watch
You do- Someone else watches, while I cheer you both on.
And so on.
For developing simple skills, it may be quick as shown above. For developing leaders and master teachers, it will take longer and other elements necessarily will come into play. The point is to take the time to invest intentionally and strategically in other people.