As the “provider” consistently view and call the “receiver” a brother or friend. How you label your relationship to another person controls how you think and behave toward him. You do not want to come on to the receiver as being superior. Note the passages below. Notice what Jesus starts calling the disciples in John 15:12-17 (NASB).
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another”
If Jesus called his disciples friends, how dare I assume a prideful title!
Here are some common terms that are problematic.
- Discipleship – Has a Teacher and disciple(s). That is a superior to an inferior relationship. It is not friendship or brotherhood. Yes, we are to make disciples but that is not a license to look down on those we help. To look down on someone is prideful. Pride is not a Christian virtue.
- Mentoring – Has the mentor and the mentored. Again it is a superior to an inferior relationship, not a friendship.
- Training – Has a trainer and trainee, Yet again it is a superior to an inferior relationship, not a brotherhood.
- Pastor – In my sub-culture, that term often signals a paid superior. Which is a privileged relationship, not a friendship or brotherhood. If in another culture “pastor” means the servant of those in his charge then that term is biblical. See 1 Peter 5:1-4.
- “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Example of using “brother”:
- Him: I am glad I have you as a mentor.
- Me: I love having you as a friend and brother.
- Him: I love it when you call me that.
So truly see your service (ministry) to younger men as both friendship and brotherhood. Do not view yourself as a father figure.