Verse 2 begins, “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” Then in verses 3-5 we have an interlude where it takes us to the mentoring role of older women with younger gals. Verse 6 gets back to men — “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” The first word in verse 6, similarly, continues the thought from verse 2. God is not asking older women to mentor younger men similar to how they teach younger women. Rather, older men are to mentor “similarly” to the way older women teach younger women.
Mentoring isn’t just about passing on the “how-to” based on their life experiences but rather teaching qualities essential to godliness. Just as we saw in those verses, similarly, men need to possess the qualities that need to be passed on to younger men. Guys need an example of what it takes, similarly to how younger women need a model. If an older man is going to be the kind of example that makes him a good mentor, then he needs to demonstrate the following:
1) He must be temperate.
Just as older women are to be taught to not be “addicted to much wine,” so older men are to be free from addictions as well. How will he be an example of self-control, whether that be with alcohol, pornography, or any other kind of vice, if he himself is in bondage? Mentoring requires time spent with another person. While an older man might fool acquaintances, it will be difficult to hide the traits that lead to intemperance from those with whom he is closer and spends more time.
2) He must have earned respect.
For a younger man to be inspired by the life of someone else and want to learn from that person, the person must be “worthy” of that respect. He must have proved himself by being honorable. This is a man filled with integrity.
3) He must be self-controlled.
Young men can easily be governed by impulses … sexual and otherwise. To be taught self-control from someone who has himself learned to control those impulses, will go much further than sermons targeted at young men or books he can read on the subject.
4) He must be sound in faith, love, and endurance.
If a young man is going to curb his natural desires, it is going to take more than a bunch of do’s and don’ts passed on to him. He needs the legacy of faith, love, and endurance which will provide a higher motivation to be self-controlled. He needs a reason to persevere. A qualification for an older man being a mentor, therefore needs to be that the mentor himself is on solid ground in what he believes and where he places his trust. He needs to be guided by the pure motivation of agape love. And, he needs a constancy in this.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” If the mentor is going to truly be able to sharpen the other person, he must have certain qualities … to be made of spiritual iron.
If you have, or want to begin, a mentoring program at your church for men, we must ask the same questions we did for developing a women’s mentoring program.
– What criteria should be in a mentor?
Remember, more goes into mentoring than passing on life experiences so don’t make it about merely pairing up men based on who has been through similar life experiences or has similar interests. The mentor, according to Titus 2, should display certain qualities. Think through how you will know when an older man is ready to be a mentor.
– How will you recruit mentors?
Not all older men are qualified to join in such an endeavor. Think through how you present this opportunity to the older men of your church so you are not in an awkward position of turning some men away.
– What training should be required of mentors?
Some older men are already godly or “worthy of respect” so they might not need as much teaching but should still go through training to remind them of what mentoring is all about. Think through what should be included in that basic plan. Older men who do not meet the criteria of Titus 2 probably will not drastically change as the result of a few training sessions. Bondages are usually not easily or quickly broken. Think through how you can extend prolonged teaching, perhaps counseling or they themselves being mentored, to help them become more godly.