Mentoring and Discipling

Posted on April 29, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

We have had no lack of ministry opportunities since retiring. We have no obligation to fill the calendar with engagements but find it difficult to decline an opportunity in which someone has felt led to invite us. I enjoy an occasional Sunday and being nurtured by someone else’s sermon, but given an opportunity to proclaim the word, present a missions challenge, lead a seminar on leadership, strategy or spiritual warfare…the calendar fills up.

Mentoring-WomensGroupWe enjoy the travel, dropping in on old friends and expanding our network of new acquaintances but live with a tension between local ministry and the more expansive opportunities our former role and influence provides. It would be gratifying to become involved in many programs of local ministry, taking a leadership role in our church or serving an interim pastorate, but that would entail forfeiting other significant ministries throughout the nation and around the world. In the midst of our schedule Bobbye has found time to relate to the small group women’s ministry of our church which she is seen hosting in the photo.

Mentoring-RuhnkesIntertwined with local commitments and constant travel we have prayed God would bring people into our lives we could disciple and mentor, especially those who may be called to missions. We have found it gratifying to connect with many students at Mississippi College who are interested in missions, but are also encouraging and walking alongside four older couples who are actually in the process of moving toward missionary appointment. We recently spent time with one of these, Tim and Nicole Ruhnke, in Hattiesburg. God laid an unreached people group in Indonesia on their heart and they are moving deliberately toward being the first ones to take the gospel to this remote, unevangelized location in Southeast Asia.

Mentoring-CooksIt has been a blessing to mentor and encourage Dustin and Megan Cook who have been a part of a church-planting team in downtown Jackson. Dustin is an engineer but has a heart for discipling and teaching the word; he is now one of the bi-vocational teaching pastors of a growing new congregation. It was many years ago as a young family we had to balance work, ministry and family and are grateful our insights and experiences can be helpful to others who are just beginning the journey.

Mentoring-Jerry&DonatelloOne of the greatest joys is being an influence and encourager to those God is in the process of maturing and equipping. Donatello Pittman was a struggling student in a missions class I taught at Mississippi College last year. I helped him go to the Philippines as a student summer missionary. He is now on a church staff, leads Disciple Now weekends and evangelism training for young people and is graduating this spring with plans to get married and go to seminary.

Though we are thrilled to teach groups, speak at programs and be used in a widespread public ministry, our greatest gratification is through the personal influence of touching the lives of a younger generation seeking to serve God.

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