Chris Lister has been mentoring someone ever since he was in ministry school in 1997. Born in Pensacola, FL, Chris struggled through an adolescence of alcohol and drugs until he was truly ‘saved’ from a life that could have ended in crime and early death. God opened the opportunity for service after ministry school when Rev. Steve Hill invited Chris and his new wife, Janet to move to the Dallas/Ft Wroth area. There Chris was able to travel with Steve to evangelistic crusades in Scotland, Finland, Spain, Wales, Brazil, and many others, as well as all over the United States. They personally saw hundreds of thousands come to Jesus and continue to do so during these crusades. In 2003, Chris and Janet were able to help Pastor Steve and his wife, Jeri in the planting of an evangelistic church in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Chris took teams out into the streets, building relationships with the homeless and rejected; showing them the love of God, not condemnation. The Heartland World Ministries Church grew to 1,500 in the first two years. Chris continues to live in the Ft. Worth area with his wife and two daughters.
BSP sat down with Chris recently to listen to him talk about a passion of his heart. Mentoring
BSP: You have ‘mentored’ many Christians over the years. What is ‘mentoring’?
Chris: It is an every day relationship with someone. It is being a friend. It is listening to their needs; not preaching at them. It is not making them feel like you are ‘holier’ than them or have all the answers.
I made some mistakes early on. I had a roommate in ministry school that I mentored. I would give him Scriptures to memorize for the week and tell him, “We’ll discuss these on Friday”. He was in ministry school! He had teachers! He did not need another one! He needed a Christian friend who was willing to be real. I learned to just be myself. Not perfect but going after Jesus to teach me how to be a better man. And that is what I learned to do that has produced a lot of fruit in the lives of my friends. I am just open and honest – I am who I am – in Jesus.
BSP: Who do you mentor?
Chris: God brings people into my life for a time. I don’t ‘pick’ them.
BSP: What Scriptures speak to you about mentoring?
Chris: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9 (NIV)
BSP: If you are showing by example in mentoring, what would be some of the key points?
Chris: Be real.
My relationship with Jesus must be fresh and growing. It’s an every day commitment, not as a ritual but because I want to spend time with Jesus. I love Him!
Avoid temptation. If alcohol has been a problem, then I do not meet my friends at a bar.
Be alert to what I allow in my ‘eye-gate’. I am a man of God. I am careful about what I watch on TV or the movies I watch. I am careful about how I look and think about women.
Share my faith. Again, it’s not about preaching. It’s sharing the most exciting and best part of my life.
Get together with Believers for fun! My wife and I have learned that it’s not about how clean an shiny the house is but it’s about the love and fun that happens when people come over. Everyone brings something to eat and we watch a game or play Wii. Lately a group of men having been going bowling. We have a lot of fun!
BSP also had the opportunity to speak with Bryan Bratton.
BSP: What do you think about ‘mentoring’? How has it affected your life in the recent years?
Bryan: I don’t think of it as ‘mentoring’. Chris is the first true friend that I have ever had. I know that now. He cares about me spiritually and emotionally. He is showing me what it means to be a man of God. He is showing me how to be a man of God by how he lives his life. Just to give you an example: He gave me a Bible, not on my birthday but on his birthday. I have never forgotten that though he says he can’t remember it!
BSP: How are you ‘playing it forward’? How are you witnessing what Jesus is doing in your life?
Bryan: I have been watching Chris and how he speaks to people on his job and just in everyday life. He has a very soft and compassionate way with others. While I am not and can not be another “Chris”, I am learning to apply some of these things in my life. If you think about it, there are always opportunities for us to be more compassionate and Christlike with others. I try to look for those opportunities. For example, I have been spending time communicating with people I have known through Facebook. It’s interesting to talk to people who “knew me when” and let them see the change in me. They know I am not the same and I can share Who is responsible for that!