In my work as pastor, I find that very few people take advantage of mentorship as a helpful resource for their spiritual growth, it’s really a shame because having a mentor can elevate your personal capabilities exponentially.
Mentors are amazing people!
When you take time developing a strong mentorship relationship with someone, you get access to a wealth of knowledge and experience, but you also end up with a lifelong friend, and your own future ministry partner. In short, there’s no downside whatsoever!
How does it work?
Well, that’s what I’m here for my friend; please just allow me to offer you some insights.
First you need to know what exactly a Mentor is;
A mentor is a more experienced (typically older) person who offers you spiritual guidance, advice and assistance from a realistic point-of-view. Titus 2:3-4 says, “The aged women likewise…That they may teach the young women to be sober…”
Why should you bother?
Moses didn’t know he needed a mentor until he was faced with a situation. Exodus 18:14-19,24 says,
“And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God….So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.”
As mentioned above, mentorship offers a host of amazing benefits every believer should tap on both spiritually and physically. A good mentor is wise and willing to share his or her knowledge and experiences in order to help you succeed. They can help you set and achieve certain goals, make smart decisions, overcome challenges, learn new skills or simply offer an outside perspective when you’re facing frustrations. The benefits are truly endless, trust me.
When should you get a mentor?
Now is the great time to start. There is always somebody who has gone through what you’ve encountered yourself – someone who has been there or has done that from whom you can learn. I learn a lot from Christ – he’s been through it all. So no matter who you are mentors are helpful regardless of distance or who, how, where and what you’re doing. If you’re more experienced, and confident you may want to be also a mentor – why not, please do? That’s our uttermost calling as believers – to counsel people. It’s an incredibly fulfilling experience and I believe that mentors learn just as much as those they assist. But I encourage you and everyone to also find a mentor of your own. As believers, we’re always learning and evolving, and even the most experienced doesn’t know everything. Didn’t the LORD say, “Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” Luke 18:19
Who should be your mentor?
This is a big question and I recommend you take some time to think it over carefully. The choice of person makes a big difference in the success of the relationship and, ultimately, in your success. Look for someone you respect and concerning work, someone who has a career you’d like to emulate. That doesn’t mean you want to follow in their footsteps exactly; you’re just looking for a person who has had success, be it in their walk with God or overcoming a challenge, and someone who embodies the characteristics you’re working to achieve. But please note, as believers we do not despise the wisdom of anyone born again.
You may have a mentor who is closer in age and experience or even someone who is your junior, it doesn’t matter! As long as the person has qualities and knowledge you can learn from, it’s perfectly acceptable. Didn’t the other disciples learn from Paul, and Paul from Barnabas? I believe Timothy was a good mentor!
Of course, you also need to find someone who is willing to be a mentor, is eager to share knowledge, will be open and honest with you, will have time to dedicate to you (like what I do lol) and is trustworthy. You’ll be potentially sharing a lot of sensitive information so this last point is essential.
Lastly, I recommend that you look for someone you like on a personal level, not just because he’s your pastor. You should look forward to spending time with your mentor. The conversations should be pleasant, engaging and inspiring.
How does mentorship relationship work?
You got to establish specifics around your relationship in whatever way works best for both of you. It can be a formal arrangement, an informal one or something in the middle. No matter what, it has to work for both of you. To get started, I recommend that you, as the mentee, come up with your ideal relationship – what it should serve. Share the information with your mentor and make sure you leave it open for discussion. Find out how much time they are willing to invest and build a schedule based on that. The key to success is simply defining the relationship from the beginning. Make it an open dialogue. Ask for what you want and need from your mentor, be willing to compromise, and listen closely to make sure there is agreement. Be sure to clarify your expectations (specifically around things like confidentiality). You don’t want there to be any confusion.
Lastly, let your mentor know that you see this as an ongoing process. If, at any time, the relationship isn’t working for either one of you, the details can and should be reviewed and revised. This doesn’t have to be stressful like a contract negotiation. Remember, it’s supposed to be a fun, growth experience!
What’s it for them?
Some mentors just like the challenge. They like to talk about what they know and their experiences. To them it’s fun when someone looks up to them. Some mentors simply believe in the person they are helping and want to see him or her succeed, and that alone is worth the time and energy. Others look at mentorship as a way of leaving a legacy. As a mentor, you get to pass your wisdom down to the next generation. So there are all kinds of reasons mentors do what they do. However, don’t buy love, our reward is from above.
I hope I’ve inspired you to start a mentorship relationship today, by the way it doesn’t have to be me.