A Disciplemaking Testimony
Jack Blanch gave this testimony at the Senior Staff Gathering in October, 2018, about his recent experiences with mentoring.
After my wife, Joann, died last December, I was feeling very lost. Around that time Jay Pritchard sent me an email of condolence with the brief words of encouragement, “You still have the gifts.” I was so inspired that I immediately sat down and listed the gifts God has given me.
I began to reflect on two men who had asked me to mentor them two years earlier. The first opportunity came in an email from a man in England. He asked if I was the Jack Blanch who had ministered in Manchester, England, in 1969. He remembered three messages I had presented to a group of students when he was a new believer. The last message, on spiritual multiplication, still burned in his heart some 49 years later. How amazing!
He had not been able to connect with The Navigators in England, and he felt very alone and frustrated in his desire to make disciples. I began to pray for him regularly.
A few weeks later, he sent me an email saying, “Somebody must be praying.” After 49 years he finally has two men who want to be discipled. One is Nepalese. As we continued corresponding, he shared that he has had no success in evangelism. Last Sunday someone in his church approached him and asked him to explain the gospel!
The second man I have been mentoring is a Canadian whom I had met while leading a Navigator training camp in Nebraska in 1967. We became reacquainted while he and his wife served as summer volunteers at Glen Eyrie. I have been helping him with evangelism. He recently accompanied me on a trip to Spain to visit my son and people I had ministered to during my years there. He was astounded at what he learned about prayer and evangelism as we traveled together.
With these two in mind and Jay’s comment about my gifts, about two months ago I asked myself how many I thought I could mentor at this stage of life. I calculated 10 and wrote that number on my daily prayer list. They started seeking me out, and now I have nine people signed up for mentoring. In light of my commitment to them, I think I will stop there.
As I consider the commitment that is needed in mentoring, I have become convinced of this: Those I mentor need to know I love them, they need a lot more people praying for them, and they need hope for the present and hope for the future. I have asked them to read and think about John 15:1-17 to give them hope. I am also using John 7:37-39 to encourage them to believe God for “rivers of living water” to be flowing out of them. I am recruiting new pray-ers to energize their efforts.
I just received an email from one of the people I mentor, who wrote, “I am having great conversations with some friends about the Kingdom of God. This has been an amazing thing and I am very encouraged by it. Your prayers are being answered!” Not only does this encourage my heart, it also encourages me to press on in mentoring!