Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. –Philippians 3:17
If you are joining us for the Philippians Study: Joy in All Things, this week we’ll talk about mentoring, discipleship, and imitating those who are examples to us.
Many of us desire a mentoring relationship but don’t know how to find one, we’re not sure where to start or how to ask. Most mentoring relationships that click seem to start with the mentee. Often it takes you, the one who desires a mentor, to make the first move. The mentor/mentee relationships that start out with a little bit of connection or relationship seem to stick more so than those that are connected as a blind date. So here are some steps to help you succeed in connecting with a mentor.
Step 1: Ask yourself these questions before you approach a potential mentor.
- Is there someone you want to get more time with? Is there someone you see as an example?
- How are you hoping to grow as a Christ follower over this next year? Does someone come to mind as you think of growing in those areas?
- Have you prayed about finding a mentor?
- If there aren’t any women that come to mind, have you considered joining us for Women’s Equipping? Or joining a life group or team at our church? This is often how most mentoring relationships are born, by connecting in smaller pockets within the church.
Step 2: ASK!
Pop the question . . . ask that person that comes to mind. Share with them your desire for a mentor, how often you’d like to meet, and give them time to pray and respond.
Step 3: Have Appropriate Expectations
Finding the perfect mentor is like trying to find a unicorn. A mentor may not be your perfect match in all areas of life, they may have different interests than you, but they can help you grow to be more like Christ. A mentor is not a counselor, a doctor, or a life coach. They are a friend who is just a few steps ahead of you in their walk with Christ and is striving to grow in their faith too.
Once you’ve asked, it’s helpful to:
- Share how you’d like to grow or what you’re hoping for in your time together. I have had a season where someone mentored me in prayer. I wanted to grow in my prayer life and so every time we got together, we prayed for an extended period of time. Not only did my prayer life grow, my faith grew because I watched God move! I’ve also asked a women in ministry to mentor me specifically in leading and teaching. With another mentor, I gave her complete permission to call out sin/wrong thinking, and rebuke me! When you ask, be specific with what you’re desiring in the relationship.
- Set a time limit/expectations. Will you meet once a month? Talk weekly? It’s best to set expectations up front so you both know how often you’ll meet or connect.
- Find something to do together or a way to serve together. I love going on walks, so often I invite women over for a walk. I’ve also found it’s really hard to connect with women I’m not serving/serving with. So for those that I’m mentoring, I’ve asked them to be a part of Women’s Equipping so that I see them weekly and know that we’re studying the same thing during the week. It seems to be a natural way to invite them into a huge part of my daily/weekly life.
- Write out questions ahead of time. Don’t leave it up to your mentor to do all of the work. Are there things you’re confused about in Scripture? Questions you have? Struggles your facing? Write them out and let that guide your time together.
- Meet her where she’s at. If you’re being mentored by a young mom, offer to come over during nap time and fold laundry with her. Come over during dinner time and help prep, or jump in the car on the way to Target. If you’re being mentored by a working woman, meet her at work for lunch. Meet before work early in the morning. Be mindful of each other’s seasons, and be willing to try something creative to get time together.
These are just suggestions and hopefully helpful tips as you pursue a mentor. As always, The Well Community Church exists to help connect people to God and each other, so let us know how we can connect you.
Resources for Mentors:
5 Mentoring Lessons by Heather Davis Nelson.
1. Gospel mentoring flows out of weakness, not strength.
2. Offer what you have.
3. Mentoring begins with prayer.
4. Mentoring at its simplest is being intentional to care for another.
5. Gentle challenge embedded in love is an essential part of mentoring.