In the last blog post, we discussed how discipleship is not mentoring.
Situational mentoring, without a long-term discipleship commitment, is more organic and spontaneous, and seems a lot less scary, right? This type of mentoring comes from you being comfortable in your own skin and sharing your authentic self with others. The mentor remains available just by showing up. The mentee just has to get to know you and eventually, a trusted connection gets made. Everyone can mentor situationally. It’s simple when you are prepared.
How do I prepare to be a mentor?
I am guessing you are here and reading this because you don’t want to be a charlatan, or profess to be someone, or do something, for which you are ill-prepared. You think mentoring might be something you could be good at, but you may not be ‘feel’ ready. Here are FOUR easy tips to make you the best mentor.
- Pray in advance, for the gentle art of listening to people who may not be who you expected them to be. Remember, many times the people God leads mentors to are people who truly need them! They have no background in faith. They did not learn it at home and they don’t know “the church” or appropriate When you pray beforehand, God has a way of giving you insight into people as they disclose their situation. Does this person need a listening ear? A shoulder to lean on? or to cry on? Would a prayer out loud soothe them or make them feel awkward? Is silence the best way? I promise if you pray in advance, you will be better able to discern how to respond.
- Read your Bible. When you read the Bible, it does something no other book can do. It fills up your soul! If your soul is not full, you have nothing to offer anyone else, no matter how well-meaning you are. It’s like putting your air supply on first on a plane, then helping a loved one. If you pass out, you can’t help!
- Serve to your strength or expertise. What struggles or victories would you find joy in sharing? Is it marriage? Raising your family? Or a special needs child? Is it your business principles? Your super craftiness? When I listen to women talk, I try to make remember as they speak who else might be best suited to understand them. For instance, many of the young women I mentor are just beginning to identify the beginning of special needs or learning disabilities in their kids. I have two other mentors I refer them to because they have long term experience beyond toddlerhood and into the teen years. I have none. Even if I have the relationship with a mom with special needs kids, a warm introduction and referral to a true resource is more productive than my kind listening and/or my uninformed suggestions.
- Make yourself available. Find out where YOUR people are! Is it at the local MOPS meeting? Or the Chamber of Commerce? Or a book club? Women’s Bible Study? The knitting store? The Genius Bar? Wherever you decide your people are, just go there routinely. Be with those people. Sometimes, it takes a long time to develop a connection, but other times, God orchestrates situations that crash through social boundaries and make lifelong partnerships. All because one person made themselves available. Let that person be YOU!
If you pray, read your Bible, serve to your strengths, and keep showing up, God will make you a force for good in the lives of younger people. In this way, you can change the world, by mentoring situationally, one young person at a time.
Where will you find your people? We will discuss that and more in next week’s blog post. Until then, if you have any questions about mentoring, please send me an email or leave me a comment. Your question may the inspiration behind future blog posts!