Why Mentorship Should Start with Leaders
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with life? Like you just can’t keep up? As if everyone around you has this thing figured out, yet you sit here sinking? The truth is, we’ve all been there at some point. We’ve all felt like we are standing there lost while everyone walks circles around us. Whether it’s in marriage, motherhood, homemaking, ministry, friendships or just reading our Bible, we’ve all faced it. You’ve faced it, I’ve faced it, and those we minister to have faced it.
Why do we feel this way? Why do we let ourselves get so overwhelmed and stressed out? Often the answer is simple: we try to go at it alone. I firmly believe that God did not create us to do this life alone. First, He gave us the Holy Spirit as our guide for this life. Secondly, He gave us each other. Even Jesus Himself had other people around Him. He had the twelve disciples. These were the men who did life with Jesus, who He taught and raised up. Then, He had three. Three of the twelve that were the closest to Him, who He confided in and He shared with. These men were His inner circle.
Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun. Every experience you have, every struggle you face, it’s not new. Someone has been there and understands. The key is finding that someone and letting them mentor you. Letting them share their experiences with what worked and what did not work. Letting them speak truth and life to you. Then, in this great circle, you get to go out and share with someone else what you have learned.
How can you foster a strong mentoring relationship?
There are two sides to this. The first side is being mentored. The second side is being the mentor.
Let’s first look at being mentored.
Find what area you are struggling in. Is it marriage? Is it ministry? Maybe learning to balance home life and ministry together? Maybe it’s becoming intentional and disciplined in your prayer life and Bible reading? Decide what area it is that you need help with.
Then, pray and ask God to lead you to a woman who can mentor you in this area and seek out a woman in your church or Bible study group. It is important to remember that you will not find a perfect woman. Even the strongest marriages still have disagreements and even the most “together” women still struggle from time to time. But you will find someone who has struggled and has grown from the struggles.
Ask her to pray about mentoring you. When she is ready, agree on a time when you can meet. Meeting in person or via Facetime, calling every few weeks or monthly is good. Regular phone calls, emails or text messages are also a good idea. When you talk with your new mentor, be open and honest. She can’t help you if you are not sharing truthfully. When you struggle, share. If you fail (and we all do), tell her. As she shares her advice and encouragement, listen closely. Take notes if you need to. She will likely share her own experiences, good and bad, this is a great thing because we learn from the failures and successes of others.
While your mentor should be available to you for prayer and encouragement often, don’t take advantage of her. If you are struggling and need her, ask yourself if this is a good time. Is it dinner time for her family? Is it in the middle of the night? If this is an emergency, a good mentor will be okay with the disruption. But if this is something that can wait a few hours until the time is better, wait. She will appreciate you respecting her in this area.
And last, remember that we said your mentor will not be perfect? When she messes up, offer her grace. She is human and just because she is farther along in the journey than you are does not mean that she has arrived.
Now let’s talk about being a mentor.
Even if you are being mentored in one area, it is likely that you are able to mentor someone else in another area. We all have something to offer. Pray and ask God to lead you to someone who needs your advice and encouragement. When she seeks you out, be ready. Get to know your mentee. Learn about her situation but also learn about who she is as a person. What does she like and dislike? What makes her tick? What are her strengths, and how can you draw those out? What is important to her?
Make arrangements to meet with her. As we already discussed, monthly is great, but maybe in the beginning, you need to meet weekly or bi-weekly. Figure out what will work best for the both of you. Make sure that she has your contact information. Does she know the best way to get in touch with you? Does she know the best times to reach you?
Though you want her to contact you in those specific time frames, remember that there may come a time that she desperately needs you for prayer or advice outside of those times. Be patient with her. If it persists, you may need to gently ask her to contact you during your available times. One thing that is vital to a mentoring relationship is confidentially. Unless it is a matter of safety for your mentee or another person, you do not share what you have been told. She is coming to you in confidence and sharing with others becomes gossip.
Always begin your time together with prayer. Invite God into the situation, ask Him to guide you and give you wisdom as you share. Share your own experiences with your mentee, the things that worked well for you and those that did not work well. She will learn from the good and the bad. Ask her questions. The more questions you ask, the more you will get her talking and the better you will know how to help her. Ask her where she wants to be in this situation in a year and how does she see herself growing. Always strive to lead her to Scripture. Then always close your time together with prayer, asking God to help her put into practice the things you’ve discussed. Continue to pray for her each day.
When we seek to be mentored, we grow. A pastor once told me, “The day we stop learning is the day we stop growing. And the day we stop growing is the day we die.” Being mentored will benefit not only your personal life, but also your ministry. In addition, those you minister to will be taught by example to find a mentor.
A mentoring relationship, either side of the coin, can turn into a beautiful relationship that blesses lives. We all need each other. We need sisters in Christ who we can teach, learn from and who we do life with. As a leader, don’t be afraid to be mentored or to mentor others. Embrace it and grow from it.
About The Author
Woman to Woman Ministries founder and co-leader, Jenifer Metzger, has a passion for ministering to and encouraging women. She firmly believes we were not meant to do life alone, but are called to walk alongside each other. Along with Woman to Woman Ministries, Jenifer co-wrote the book Living Out Titus 2 to encourage women in mentorship. Jenifer and her husband of 19 years, Jeremy, have four children whom she calls her blessings from Heaven, and they serve their church as associate pastors and children’s pastors. Jenifer also leads the women’s ministry. Connect with Jenifer at jenifermetzger.org and through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest: @jenifermetzger
The above article, “Why Mentorship Should Start with Leaders” was written by Jenifer Metzger. The article was excerpted from womensministry.net.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”