Mobilizing Godparents as Disciple-Mentors

by the Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry

During a visit to the UK in the spring I was able to meet up with a godson. Living thousands miles away means I have little personal contact with him, but when we got together for an evening I was amazed at what a strong bond we have and how freely we could talk about important issues. It was the kind of conversation that parents love to have with their children but rarely get.

No doubt every relationship between a godparent and a godchild is unique. No question that godparents are sometimes chosen for reasons other than their ability to make disciples. Not all Christian traditions even have godparents, although people may find themselves in a similar role there too. But all that said, I think a case can be made that godparents enjoy unique privileges that are often underestimated and that mobilizing godparents as spiritual mentors holds great promise for Christian discipleship.

Godparents are obligated to pray for their godchildren, and that is surely the foundation for any mentoring relationship. They are also expected to send cards and gifts for special occasions like a birthday, confirmation or wedding. These too help develop the relationship by paying attention to the godchild and demonstrating their love for them. Those cards and gifts may also be chosen for their Christian content and help to develop a Christian world-view. 


Train up a child in the
way he should go;
even when he is old
he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

But if we stop there it may be that we are missing out on opportunities to go deeper: to listen to a godson or goddaughter, to pray with them as well as for them, and to offer Christian counsel as appropriate. We may even have the privilege of bringing them to that point of commitment to become a follower of Jesus Christ or to help them get reconnected with Christ along the way.

Godparents are honorary members of a family but they are one step removed from their daily lives, which makes for unique opportunities to disciple godchildren as they mature. Those who advise on the choice of godparents, and those who find themselves to be godparents, have an opportunity here to help raise up a generation of believers who will in turn be able to mentor others in the faith.

This Story Can Be Found In

The Seed and Harvest – Fall 2013 Edition

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