Monday, December 14, 2009

One to One: book review

Earlier this year, a friend of mine started meeting one-to-one with a new Christian to encourage her in the faith. She'd never mentored anyone before, so she asked me for advice. If she asked me now, I'd give her Sophie de Witt's One-to-One: A Discipleship Handbook.

I feel like a bit of a dill telling you to read this book, because my friends have been telling me to read it for years, and I haven't. Well, I've finally got around to it. Now it's my turn to tell you: if you haven't read it by now, it's time to get a copy or take it off the shelf!

We're all called to encourage one another as Christians. Women have a particular calling to teach and train younger women (Titus 2:3-5). One of the best ways we can do this is to meet regularly with a younger Christian one-to-one. This kind of ministry doesn't look spectacular, but it's incredibly effective, and multiplies itself over time, as those we disciple go on to disciple others.

One-to-one ministry can feel very intimidating if you've never done it. Short of setting up a hidden camera, we can't observe people as they meet with others one-to-one, so it can be hard to know what to do. What Sophie De Witt does brilliantly is to de-mystify one-to-one. She breaks it down into three simple elements:

  • pray for and with the person you're meeting with
  • open the Bible together (there are some wonderful guidelines for how to prepare a Bible passage and learn from it together)
  • build a friendship

Sophie de Witt writes from the context of uni ministry in the UK, which gives her great expertise in one-to-one ministry, so she's able to respond to many puzzling issues. How can I tell if I'm suited to mentoring someone? Who should I choose to meet with? How can I ask them to meet with me? What should we do during our first meeting? What's a good place to meet? How can I tell when someone needs professional help?

This is a very readable book. It deals with real issues in a biblical and informative way. It's not fancy and technical, but it's packed full of good, simple, practical advice. It would be a great book to read with someone you're training in one-to-one ministry. Whether you're experienced in mentoring, or whether you've never done it before, you'll benefit greatly from this book, and so will those you meet with one-to-one.

image is from jhall987 at flickr

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