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To grow, copy somebody else

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Sometimes we can make mentoring too complicated. At the most basic level, if you want to learn how to do something new, you find someone who knows how and you watch them.   That’s all mentoring is – an experienced person showing someone with less experience how to do something. To grow, al…
By Seth Barnes
img resizeSometimes we can make mentoring too complicated. At the most basic level, if you want to learn how to do something new, you find someone who knows how and you watch them.
 
That’s all mentoring is – an experienced person showing someone with less experience how to do something. To grow, all you need to do is copy someone else.
 
Salman Khan founded the Khan Academy based on the premise that repetition helps people to learn. He estimates that you need to repeat a given exercise ten times to learn a particular lesson.
 
We need to practice doing things to acquire skills.
 
I’ve noticed that a lot of 20-somethings get a passion for something and feel like the next natural step for them is to go start their own deal.
 
But if someone comes to me and asks me what their next step should be to put their passion into practice, my advice is usually that they don’t do this. A better approach is to go and serve someone else first.
 
Apprentice under someone who is already doing what you want to do. Learn from their example and coaching and you’ll get to your own dream much faster.
 
Miguel Santiago is a good example of this principle – he had a vision for starting a ministry in the Dominican Republic in 2002. But he went and served our team in Mexico for two years first. What he learned has been invaluable now that he is leading his own ministry in the D.R.
 
Not only is it practical, to imitate someone else, it’s biblical. In fact, it’s the basis for discipleship. Over and over again we see in Scripture that this is how people learned to grow in faith – by copying or imitating someone else. Some sample verses:

“Take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Phil 3:17

“You are going thru the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Phil 1:30

“Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” 1 Cor 4:16 

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seem in me – put it into practice.” Phil 4:9

“Join with others in following my example.” Phil 3:17

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Cor. 11:1

Imitate those who thru faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Hebr 6:12

“You became imitators of us and the Lord.” 1 Thess 1:6

“You became imitators of God’s churches.” 1 Thess 2:14

How do you want to grow in life and faith? God doesn’t expect you to learn in a vacuum. He gives us examples for us to imitate. Do you have someone in your life you want to imitate? If not, how can you find them?

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