by David Cranston and Ruth Padilla DeBorst, editors
Regnum Books International
—Reviewed by Mark M. Overstreet, executive vice president, T4 Global
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE their best will seek out a mentor. In this brief and accessible introduction, David Cranston seeks to take the reader to new heights in a creative and humble approach to discipleship through mentoring.
A physician by trade and Fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Cranston defines mentoring from scripture and moves through trustworthy and constructive models for finding and being found as a mentor.
Drawing from a lifetime of resources as a Christian father and physician, he argues persuasively for a personal and dynamic approach to the discipline. With God at the center of the relationship, Cranston probes and explores the resources available to the follower of Jesus seeking to know and be known, allowing scripture and godly wisdom to shape the life and work of both mentor and mentee.
Cranston begins in scripture. He makes his rounds through nine examples from the Old and New Testaments. In his first division, he surveys the art of delegation, succession planning, mentoring through suffering, second-chance mentoring, and mentoring through depression. Next, he examines strategic mentoring, the value of affirmation and assurance in mentoring, and mentoring over long distances.
Finally, he looks at Jesus and the life he shared with his closest friends. Cranston also leans into history for a brief stroll through the mentoring lives of three examples: John Newton, Indian abolitionist Dadabhai Naoroji, and King Abdullah of Jordan. Each figure shares across culture and continent ample evidence of the value found in a life invested in the growth of a friend. Through a rich collection of friendships, Cranston then describes the value and return he has received through spiritual mentoring from family and friends, including John Stott. These, he says, “Mentored me in how to die as well as how to live.” Finally, Cranston takes the reader on a lively journey through his early experiences of being mentored in the workplace, becoming a mentor both in the workplace and in the church. He finishes his work with a brief and helpful discussion of one’s personal walk with God, family life, leadership, and mentoring through suffering.
He concludes with a helpful few pages on the “dos and don’ts of mentoring,” a practical and principled end to his helpful book. This small text provides a succinct and satisfying brief on mentoring. For both trade and faith, the book could be improved with parenthetical scriptural references that complement his thesis. Rooted in the practical and biblical realms, the book is a short and healthy introduction to the discipline. Thoughtful and valuable, Cranston’s personal and practical insights in this text emerge from a lifelong commitment to the vital, life-giving skill of the art of mentoring.
Check these titles:
Hendricks, Howard G. and William D. Hendricks. 2000. As Iron Sharpens Iron: Building Character in a Mentoring Relationship. Chicago: Moody Publishers.
Hull, Bill. 2006. The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Navpress.
EMQ, Vol. 51, No. 1 pp. 123-124. Copyright © 2015 Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ editors.