Discipling one another, being a mentor and being mentored, is profoundly biblical and has throughout the Old and New testament been the primary means of training. Learning by doing, developing by working alongside a more experienced worker, being accountable to someone else, are all part of this process. Mentoring is, in essence, a way of relating meaningfully to one another, as God created us to be and do. Often the way in which we respond to being mentored is a key indicator of our openness to the Lord’s input into our lives, and to how far we will develop in his work.
The value of mentoring
Whether as a traditional mentor/student or in peer mentoring , it will help to be familiar with this material.. The mentor pairing should work towards the following;-
- Improve the way in which we personally follow Christ. It is primarily the development of a relationship to promote spiritual growth and progress in character, ministry and an understanding of God’s will for our live
- Give some accountability, direction and challenge on commitment and growth. One key aim is that each person is helped to build up over this period a personal profile of him/herself. A better understanding of where one is at personally speaking, is a sound basis from which development of character, knowledge and gifting can take place.
- Deal with persistent problems: personal accountability can help in working through issues that may be raised, though recognising that deeper issues may require counselling input from other relevant people.
- Help in guidance and decisions affecting spirituality and maturity through this time period and beyond that for growth in Christian service. As the time progresses there is also the opportunity to set goals and guidelines for future development beyond a specified mentoring period.
- Provide some stimulation and support for skills development, and application needed to meet a task.
Setting up a mentoring relationships
If you already have a Christian friend who you trust to speak honestly into your life, then using a mentoring system or tools can fit into that relationship, so that the mentoring is not some additional burden on already busy lives, but a way of bringing a training intentionality into existing relationships. Otherwise, this would be good time to prayerfully seek someone who could mentor you, or who you could mutual help by mentoring each other in spiritual growth.
To help initiate the mentoring aspect of this relationship and make it meaningful there is a structured side to the programme of mentoring as well as the informal. A Mentoring Training Manual and Mentoring System are available to help in these matters.
Some of the key elements in mentoring:
- It is a relationship between two people It is essential that both mentor and mentee understand and are committed to the concept of mentoring. They must know what is required of them and what each is able to bring to the relationship. The over-riding purpose is that the mentoring relationship be one of open, honest and warm friendship, so that you God may use you to speak quiet deeply into each other’s life.
- It includes a planned process
- There needs to be a formal beginning to the mentoring relationship, then decisions on length of time, parameters and objectives, frequency and location of meetings etc.
- Progress should be reviewed periodically which would include the extent to which aims are being met, quality of relationship etc.
- At end of the period the mentor relationship may be closed with the options to either extend the period, find another mentor in the local church situation or for one or both to start mentoring someone else in the things he or she has learned.
- It should bring about accelerated growth in the mentee. While making a good friendship is the correct method, that isn’t the goal. The mentor is there to help by God’s grace to improve the benefit each will get from being in a mentoring relationship.
- It will take up time and effort on the part of the mentor as well as the student. The costs are considerable but the outcome may be incalculable. Both must be prepared to give the time required for meetings and preparation, give top priority to the relationship, demonstrate patience, be prepared to overcome difficulties and be sufficiently honest and open to confront each other in a positive, trusting environment.
As we get to know each other more deeply through relationships, it may be that a very specific area of concern will emerge which you may feel is beyond either of you to handle or give advice on. At any time either of you feel that outside advice or help is needed, then discuss it with each other and take the matter to either your church leadership or other trusted advisors, as appropriate.. The purpose of the mentoring relationship is to encourage and support each other for spiritual growth, and not try to solve each other’s problems.