Pastor Larson’s Corner: Mentors all

Pastor Larsons Corner

I suffered with a bad cold for most of the month of March and ended up watching a lot of NCAA basketball during what has come to be known as “March Madness.” I noticed that every team was filled with unbelievably skilled players who were great leapers, ball handlers, and shooters. However, the teams that ended up rising to the top were characterized more by their coaches than their players. All teams in the final four were coached by long-time successful, winning coaches. One sports analyst thought the coaches of the final four teams were hands down the best coaches in the tournament.

It is easy to underestimate the influence and power teachers, coaches, and mentors have in our culture. When someone succeeds, we might think they accomplished greatness on their own. This happens even though successful people are often quick to thank those who helped them along life’s way. Nearly every player interviewed following victory in the NCAA tournament praised and credited their coaches for their success.

The life of faith also requires teachers and coaches for guidance and direction. Many congregations now have mentoring programs. Older members of the congregation are asked to mentor a young person, often as part of their confirmation program. These mentors are like faith coaches, and often end up being very important people in the lives of their students.

Of course, you do not have to be part of a formal mentoring program to be a mentor to others in their faith life. We are all mentors to our children, grandchildren, friends, and acquaintances. As we share our own faith stories with others we lead and guide them in the way of faith. When people see and understand how God has worked in our lives they find the strength to move forward with their own lives of faith. For this reason, God calls us all to be mentors of our faith.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at jerlarson@visi.com

This article originally appeared in the April 17, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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