Mentoring Helps

Paying It Forward

So much of what we do is measured in real-time, not future impact. Our culture’s push for instant gratification misses the long-term effect of what we do in the here and now. We drink for pleasure now, but long-term we don’t see the effect it has on our body. We rush to porn to soothe our anxious souls only to discover it wrecks our sex life in marriage. We impulse buy and wonder why our paycheck won’t last till payday. Living, for now, short-changes us for the future.

1860-Samuel Chadwick is born

A year before Kansas became a State and seven years before Canada became a country, long before you and I were born, Samuel Chadwick was born in England. He was raised by a godly Christian family and came to faith in Christ at age ten. They were a poor family, so by age eight, Samuel was working in the local mill. By age eleven, he finished public school and worked full-time to provide for his family. 

By his mid-teens, Samuel felt an increasing call by God to the ministry. Through a series of events, including being declined for the ministry due to his lack of formal education, God took Samuel to Scotland, where he learned from several pulpit giants how to preach. By the time Chadwick was 27, he served at numerous churches in Scotland and England.  He had become known for his mighty preaching throughout the British Isles.

1913-1932-Cliff College

Samuel Chadwick became principal of Cliff College in England for nineteen years, where he prepared young men to be the next generation of preachers of the Gospel.  In 1930, Leonard Ravenhill, age twenty-three, enrolled at Cliff College.

Leonard has his own story of coming to Christ at age fourteen. (We’ll save that for another post.) What is significant is Samuel was, in his day, what Paul was to Timothy in the Bible.

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, 

who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2 ESV

Paul poured his life into young Timothy. He mentored him with the Gospel. Timothy then found other men to invest in and so forth. Centuries later, that pay it forward commitment landed on Samuel Chadwick, who in turn invested in young men, like Leonard Ravenhill.  If you follow Leonard’s life (born 1907 in England and died 1994 in Texas), you will find how Gospel-focused mentoring impacted generations, even now. It indirectly impacted me while I was in my twenties in University. 

Look Intently

Zoom in on that photo of the Cliff College class of 1932 at the top of this post. The man in, front row center, is Samuel Chadwick, age seventy-two. The young man on the front row, far right, is Leonard Ravenhill, age twenty-five. If you lean in, you can hear the men speak. Their attitudes focused on the hope of the Gospel. Their teachable hearts to know Christ and make Him known. The self-discipline they endured paid off. While attending Cliff College, Chadwick had the young men rise early each morning. After breakfast, each man ran two miles, then took a cold shower and headed to lectures and study time. Samuel would send these young men out on weekends to preach at area churches.  He was known to exhort them with this statement:

“Go, and may the devil go with you. 

Because if the devil does not go and oppose you, then you’re not worth sending!”

Stories ensued of how England was overwhelmed with the presence of God through these faithful men. Thousands of unchurched souls came to Christ. Marriages restored. Divorces canceled, In some towns, the bars and pubs were closed. People made restitution for their wrongs. Repentance and restoration swept throughout those British communities.  

All Because of One Man 

Samuel Chadwick invested in the next generation of men like Paul did to Timothy, and now generations have the opportunity to live in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. All because of one man. 

Are You That Man?

I remember listening to this groveling voice of a preacher on a radio interview back during my college days. Leonard Ravenhill told stories of people who would drive hundreds of miles to attend a Friday night prayer meeting. Why? They passed up hundreds of churches along the way. Because God wasn’t there. Leonard captured something of the power of the holiness of God. He experienced it under the mentorship of Samuel Chadwick and that flame of the Holy Spirit compelled Leonard to invest in the next generation.

Don’t Write Yourself Off

Before you write yourself off as a nobody, consider this one thing that Paul and Timothy and Chadwick and Ravenhill each had, and so do you, if you are in Christ.  The Holy Spirit. It is the burning flame of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men that drives them to speak into the next generation. None of these four men were perfect. None were flawless. Each was a work in process that God used, as they were. There is absolutely no reason why he cannot use you.

The Faces I See

When I look intently into the faces of the young men around me, I see a desperate hunger to be mentored. I see future husbands and dads, employees and employers, entrepreneurs, church leaders. I see young souls who long to be fathered by God; to have older men speak into their lives.

Lean in and Listen

If you would slow down long enough and realize living for Christ is not about God making your life happy, but about you leaving a Gospel legacy that pays it forward to the next generation. John Wesley, the famous English preacher started a Tuesday night class that invested into the next generations. That class when on for 100 years!  Long after I am dead and gone, I hope there are men who are intently following Jesus and mentoring others because I chose to pay it forward.

What about you?

Warrior On!

MW Editor’s note. The feature photo and much of the information about Samuel Chadwick and Leonard Ravenhill come from a book, by permission, entitled “In Light of Eternity-the Life of Leonard Ravenhill” by Mack Tomlinson. Book is available at 

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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