The Vision for Our Times

By Francis Frangipane

Christ, Our Prefect Mentor

Today, perhaps more than at any time in our nation's history, we stand at a crossroads. Will this nation move toward heaven or hell? Will we see a national awakening or national destruction? I am fully convinced that if we stand for our cities and neighborhoods--if a remnant in the church truly becomes Christlike in prayer, character and motives--we will ultimately see the glory of God fall again upon our land.

Yet, to possess the glory of Christ again through the church means, among other things, that godly leaders will need to mentor and train disciples in the way of the Lord. We simply do not have enough time to all mature spiritually at the current pace. We not only need revelation of the potential of Christ in us, but we need impartation from leaders who are walking in some measure of Christlikeness now (see Rom 1:11; 1 Thess 2:8). We need the spiritual fathers in the church to accept that, while they are not perfect, God can use them to mentor and train pastors, intercessors and the future leaders of the church. 

The word "mentor" actually came from Homer's Odyssey. Mentor was the name of a loyal adviser of Odysseus who was entrusted with the education of the king's son, Telemachus. Mentor supposedly became a type of father figure to Telemachus while Odysseus was away fighting the Trojan War. Today, by common usage, Webster defines a mentor as a "wise and trusted counselor or teacher."

Paul captures the feeling of this special relationship between an established leader with his protege, when he wrote Timothy: "For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me" (1 Cor 4:15-16).

A mentor is a spiritual father or mother who trains, guides and disciples an individual for a certain period until, in some tangible way, that disciple receives some measure of the anointing that rests upon his or her mentor. Paul wrote that the outcome of his fathering Timothy was that Timothy (and evidently others) would become "imitators of [Paul]." In this instance, imitation does not mean we are false or without substance, but that an impartation of Christ's life has successfully been multiplied from one to another.

Jesus put it this way: "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward" (Matt 10:40-41).

A prophet or righteous man carries in his spirit a "reward" of impartable power. It takes humility in a disciple to overlook the weaknesses of a leader and recognize the gift God has placed in him or her for our benefit. This principle of impartation and replication was foundational in the New Testament. It is the reason why Jesus did not leave a thousand apostles; twelve were enough. It's why He only appeared to Paul, instead of appearing to ten thousand others, because one Paul would impart and replicate himself in ten thousand others. The Lord only needed one Paul as long as the apostle understood the principles of mentoring, impartation and replication.

The Book of Hebrews expands this somewhat and urges us to be careful. Listen to what the writer says concerning our training. He admonishes, "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings" ( Heb 13:7-9).

The goal is to see replicated in us the very life of Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. We must choose our leaders wisely, considering the outcome of their way of life. Look at how they handle conflict or success; are they still reaching for Christlikeness themselves? If they are, we "imitate their faith." In other words, when we submit to someone, we are seeking to appropriate the heart attitudes and graces that has functionalized the nature of Christ in that leader. We do not want to be like them in the flesh, but to receive the Spirit of Christ that manifests through them. We are not seeking to copy their mannerisms, but to "imitate their faith." We do not lose our unique personalities or distinctions, we receive power and direction.

Remember: John, Peter, Paul and the other apostles all replicated the singular life of Jesus, but Christ emerged through each uniquely. Our yieldedness to a leader or mentor is not to create clones, but spiritual kings who will manifest Christ.

Jesus, Our True Mentor

While teaching is vital to our spiritual growth, Jesus didn't simply teach or inform His disciples of truth. No, He poured Himself into the apostles, training them to actually represent Him. He then assigned them tasks, where they could utilize what they had learned. Mentoring involves teaching, training and practical experience in the field.

We may come to a man or woman we respect and ask for mentoring, seeking to simply possess a better, more effective spiritual life. However, the goal of true mentoring is not blessing, but replication of anointing. Let me explain what I mean by "anointing." The Holy Spirit works in an individual, breaking and shaping their inner man. In time, the inside of that person is reconstructed to the degree that their heart's values align with the ways of Christ. Still, they do not have power in or of themselves. To a certain degree, they have actually died in their inner man; yet in the very area of their spiritual death, Christ now lives. When I say that Christ lives in them, we think of that as a static or "divine potential," but it is much more. Christ is not a doctrine or religion; there is not a different Redeemer in heaven than Christ living in us. When Christ comes into flesh, He still comes to transform the world. Listen well, for when the Spirit of Christ manifests in our world, He takes over our hearts and tongues and, looking to the Father, He prays,

"Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired,
But a body Thou hast prepared for Me;
In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
Thou hast taken no pleasure.
Then I said, 'Behold, I have come
(In the roll of the book it is written of Me)
To do Thy will, O God" (Heb 10:5b-7).

Just as Christ needed a personal, physical body "to do [God's] will" in the first century, today, through the Holy Spirit He descends into the church, His spiritual body. He states again that He has come, not to fulfill ritual and religious obligations, but to transform earth with heaven. The sphere of influence may be as small as a family or as large as a nation, but the anointing upon an individual is the manifest power of the living Christ. He has come in "a body Thou has prepared for Me" and His declared purpose is "to do Thy will, O God."

The Need for Christlike Leaders

In my life, men like Andrew Murray and Watchman Nee served as my mentors. The first Christian book I ever read was "Release of the Spirit" by Watchman Nee; the book that most changed my life was "Like Christ," by Andrew Murray--although all of Andrew Murray's books deeply impacted my life.

Both of these men, together with C.S. Lewis, added unique dimensions to my spiritual life that, apart from them, I would not have otherwise attained. I often would take their books, kneel at the foot of my bed, and unashamedly devour their words. Of course, my primary study was the word of God, especially the words of Jesus. However, these individuals taught me to hunger for God and thirst for righteousness, and that Christ was the same in these latter days as in the former.

However, they did not teach me about unity in the body of Christ or spiritual warfare. They supplied a grace for an area in my soul, but they only prepared me for the anointing that the Lord had for me, which was to see the church united in Christlikeness. This anointing for unity is something the Lord has personally been working in a small number of leaders around the world. Yet, together with these men, the Holy Spirit is pioneering the healing of the church and the transformation of our cities.

It is this anointing, this empowerment of Christ within me, that I seek to impart to others in our online training class (In Christ's Image Training). The Lord has deeply impressed me that I must pour myself into the lives of those He brings. The vision before us is to see in every city, Christlike pastors and intercessors who are standing before God, laying their lives down for His purpose. This is the hope and vision of our times:

"For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.
And nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising" (Is 60:2-3).

For more information see In Christ's Image Training.