It Will Make A Difference For This One

Written by Burt Braunius /
October 17, 2014

Early one evening a man was walking along a beach when he saw a boy picking up starfish andflinging them into the sea. The man asked the boy why he was doing this. The boy explained the starfish would die if left until the morning. The man asked the boy, “What difference will your efforts make when there are thousands of starfish on the beach?” The boy stopped and looked at the starfish he was holding and said, “It will make a difference to this one.”  (Attributed to Loren Eiseley)

Commissioned Pastor candidate Gonzalo Venegas, former gang member and now a believer, was incarcerated and while at that prison facility was on the list for “Spring Cleaning” (a gang term for getting rid of the weakest). While he was preparing himself for being assaulted, God had other plans.

A gang leader, whom he expected to be arranging an attack him, instead came up to him in the prison yard and said, “God told me to take care of you.” That individual went on to say, “Teach me to read.” When Gonzalo asked, “What books do you want to be able to read?”, the gang leader said simply, “The Bible.” That’s what led to the inmate learning to read and to, consequently, to becoming a follower of Jesus. To this day, while still in prison, all he reads and keeps reading, over and over, is the Bible.

It made a difference to this one.

When Gonzalo was released from prison, Commissioned Pastor candidate and church planter,Jose Duran, met with Gonzalo at the half-way house where he was staying. And Jose began to mentor Gonzalo. He encouraged him to write in a “life journal,” to be accountable for spiritual disciplines, and to attend church every Sunday. He said something like, “I’m not here to save you, but be assured that I can guide you and walk alongside you.”

Jose’s mentoring relationship with Gonzalo has, in human terms, accelerated Gonzalo’s spiritual growth, provided him with leadership opportunities at Jose’s church (My Father’s House), and led to his admission as a Commissioned Pastor candidate.

It made a difference with this one.

Church Leadership Center works individually with our participants. One of our main distinctives is the development of mentoring relationships. We believe that for training to be transformational it must be more than the communication of information or acquisition of skills. In fact, transformation comes through individual relationships by which life change is communicated from one person to another.

We define it this way: “Mentoring involves a developmental relationship between a more experienced person (mentor) and a less experienced partner. Through regular interactions, the less experienced partner trusts and applies the mentor’s guidance for gaining perspective, skills, information, and experience. Mentoring may take many different forms and degrees of accountability. It always aims for a servant-leadership perspective that is consistent with the teaching of Jesus. ‘Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant’ (Mark 10:34).”

Church Leadership Center facilitates individualized mentoring for those who are called to ministry. We work in partnership with pastors, churches, and other ministry groups to prepare congregational leaders for advanced levels of service. We do this by means of assessment interviews and reports; personalized training plans, classes, and certification so that participants are able to increase their effectiveness in all areas of church life. Click here for more information from our web site and to read previous blogs. To view videos about Commissioned Pastors and those who support them, click here.

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