By far the most difficult part of finding a spiritual mentor is having the courage to ask. Men in particular, fear rejection more than almost anything. Therefore a portion of this blog is directed at helping you overcome the fear, so you can enjoy the priceless benefits of having a mentor.
What is spiritual mentoring? Spiritual mentoring is the process of passing on from one person to the next their love for God and biblical truth, and the life skills and experiences needed to prepare them to be fully devoted followers of Jesus in every area of their lives.
Mentoring is a relationship, which fosters and encourages godly lives in both the mentor and protégé.
Mentoring is a relationship, not a program. While the process may involve some systematic teaching and study, most learning occurs naturally in response to real life experiences.
Mentoring is a relationship with someone you like, enjoy, believe in, and want to see lead a life of significance, fruitfulness, and contentment.
Mentoring is a relationship that flourishes in shared experiences: “Tell me and I’ll remember for a while; show me and I’ll remember for a lifetime.”
What does a mentor do?
Mentors listen so they can discern what their protégé really needs.
They provide feedback. The mentor has a broader base of experiences, ideas, and insights to draw from which might be helpful to the one being mentored.
They are available. It’s important for the protégé to know there is someone he or she can turn to in times of crisis or when there is confusion in their life.
They build self-confidence through encouragement. We all need someone who believes in us and will cheer us on.
They encourage the spiritual disciplines of regular Bible study and personal prayer, and share ideas for doing that.
They are ready to answer spiritual, moral, or ethical questions using Scripture, or are committed to searching out the answer.
They serve as sounding boards. Protégés need someone on whom they can test new ideas.
They commit to pray regularly for their protégé.
They keep notes of discussions and assignments, and after review them before the next meeting.
They keep everything told to them confidential unless it’s life threatening. (If there is a serious issue, I recommend consulting a pastor.)
Mentors honestly share their life experiences, tell appropriate stories of mistakes they’ve made or others have made, and reveal how God used those mistakes to shape them.
Finding a mentor
Finding the right mentor for you is critically important. First pray. Ask God to guide you to the right mentor. As God puts names on your mind, write them down immediately. You may be tempted to dismiss some people as being too busy or inaccessible, but if God is calling them to mentor you, you’ll only know that by asking them. Then ask your pastor or spiritually mature friends for names of potential mentors, in or outside your church. While mentors should have a reputation for godliness and a reasonably good understanding of the Bible, don’t overlook a trusted family member or family friend.
The next step
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a couple of men (or women), pray about this decision for a few weeks. Whoever God puts on your heart or mind the most, is likely God’s choice for you.
Call your prospective mentor and simply ask to meet. Most men say something like this when they call me.“Several people have suggested I meet with you, if I want the counsel of a godly man. I don’t have any crisis right now in my life, but I want to learn what it means to be a mature Christian man in every facet of my life. Could I buy you lunch or could we have a cup of coffee?”See, it’s that easy! No talk of a long-term relationship. You’re simply asking a fellow Christian to meet.
At your first meeting, ask your potential mentor to share their personal journey. As they talk you’ll get a good feel for who and what shaped them into the person before you. You’ll also get a feel for the things they truly love (or don’t.) In a sense, this is an interview. Ask follow up questions about how they came to faith, ministries they’ve done, the toughest decision they’ve ever had to make. Just get to know them. Toward the end of this blog, there’s a list of other questions you might ask.
Then, tell your potential mentor about yourself. Give them a 15 minute snapshot of your life, including how you came to faith.
If you sense this man could be the kind of mentor you need, and it appears he enjoys you as well, simply end by saying you’d enjoy meeting again. “Are you open to that?” Call or email him a few days later and make another appointment to meet.
At some point, after a few meetings, you will want to broach the idea of mentoring. If he’s unsure what that means, you could give him a copy of this and last week’s blog, or purchase and download a full copy of the Spiritual Mentoring Guide. (https://www.claredegraaf.com/store/)
Additional questions you might ask your mentor
What are some of the most important decisions you’ve made in your life?
What are a few of the best decisions you’ve ever made?
What are some of the worst decisions you’ve made?
Do you have any suggestions or ideas for being a more godly husband or wife?
Do you have an suggestions or ideas for being a more godly father or mother?
How can I honor my parents better?
What are some of the dangers I should be on the lookout for in the coming years?
As you look back from your perspective, is there anything you would do differently if you could return to my age?
What advice would you offer about being a better Christ-follower?
Summary When you first learned to play a sport, you didn’t get good at it by reading about it or going to lectures. Someone came alongside of you and showed you how to play the game. This is no less true for the Christian faith. Pray for and have the tenacity to find a good spiritual life coach. It will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make!
How following Jesus works in real life.
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