BOOK REVIEWS · Discipleship · Leadership

AS IRON SHARPENS IRON – Howard and William Hendricks

As Iron Sharpens Iron attempts to explain and sell the concept of mentoring.  The stated goal of the authors is to see thousands of readers develop mentoring relationships as a result of reading the material.  The authors hope to steer as many men as possible into vital relationships that produce and reproduce godly men.

The authors admit the difficulty of defining a “mentor” and note some distinguishing qualities between mentorship and discipleship.  The concept of discipleship is presented as a specific plan to nurture spiritual growth in the life of another man.  The idea of mentoring is presented as more of a broad scheme.  A mentor is fundamentally committed to helping another grow and realize specific life goals.  Therefore, the authors seek to build the case for utilizing mentoring as one of the primary means of bringing men to maturity.  Mentoring is meant to leave a lasting legacy on the life of another man.

The book is divided into two general parts.  Part one is devoted to men who seek a mentor.  The authors intend to help such a man find a mentor, provide qualities to look for in a mentor, give some basic strategies for growth, and offer tips in building a mentoring relationship.

Part two is devoted to men who intend to serve as a mentor to a younger man.  The authors lay the foundation by discussing the need for mentor-type relationships in our culture.  Further, the authors discuss the roles and responsibilities of a mentor.  Finally, the authors provide a host of “how-to’s” as well as a list of problems to avoid in a mentoring relationship.

As Iron Sharpens Iron is a worthwhile book that focuses on the practical rather than the theoretical.  A further strength worth mentioning is the holistic approach to a mentoring relationship.  The authors are careful to endorse a complete concept of mentoring that stresses the construction of the complete man including the spiritual, emotional, social, physical, and financial.  The book is well-balanced and thought-provoking.  As Iron Sharpens Iron is very encouraging and motivating.  One wonders how any reader could walk away from this material without calling up a potential protégé to start a mentoring relationship.

The only weakness I detected was a great deal of monotony.  Much of the material presented in part one is rehashed in part two.

This work shall prove to be a great help in my current ministry.  The concepts may be immediately implemented in a mentoring program in the local church.  Further, this book may be used as a stimulus to get other men interested in the mentoring process.  The possibilities are endless for any church that seeks to build life on life relationships for the purpose of godliness.

3.5 stars

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