“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17).
Mentoring sometimes seems like a daunting task, doesn’t it? For both parties involved, it can be a little overwhelming to think about at first.
However, mentoring is actually biblical and necessary for a body of believers, and it doesn’t have to be burdensome at all.
The idea may sound great, but the execution, well, maybe not so much. How exactly do you get started, as a mentor or as a mentee?
Should you ask someone randomly? Do you think about or fret over how that person will respond?
Missionary emerita Danette High addresses these common situations in Christian Women’s Leadership Center’s Follower Skills course.
She mentions that while most women desire a mentoring relationship, some older women don’t want to come across as prideful by offering to come alongside younger women.
At the same time, younger women don’t want to ask older women because they think older women won’t have time to spend on them.
In both cases, these presumptions keep women from an active and life-changing mentoring relationship. However, asking for a mentor or offering to be a mentor doesn’t have to be a formal occasion.
Asking simple questions may open the door for opportunities.
“ ‘I’ve noticed you pray in a way expecting answers that I don’t really know how to do. Would you have time to meet a couple of times to share about prayer and pray together?’ If you’ll define what you’re asking for instead of asking for a mentor, then the person you ask won’t feel that she is not qualified or that you’re asking for more time than she has available,” Danette shares.
You may be wondering how you can meet other women who could be your mentor or mentee.
You may have more opportunities than you think. A good place to start is to look for intergenerational opportunities within your church. Consider the following ideas:
By gathering around the dinner table once a month to discuss life and deeper Christ-centered topics with women of different ages and life stages, you can offer a heartfelt glimpse into your life. It also allows you to see if another woman has experienced a similar occasion.
If you notice how a woman handles certain situations in life with grace, then ask her to meet with you over coffee or brunch to go over what’s going on in your life and how to react in a way consistent with the Bible. In the same sense, if you observe another woman going through a situation you’ve been through, then send her words of encouragement often and keep up with her outside the group as well.
To learn more about how to start a table group with women in your church, check out ifgathering.com for details.
If you’ve joined a Bible study, then look for ways you can learn from others. Does a woman study the Bible in a unique way? Does she take specific notes or follow a certain reading plan? Ask her if she would have time to read a chapter and walk through it with you. Invite a woman in your group to take an hour to prepare for your Bible study with you.
As you serve on missions teams, do you notice someone who serves passionately or in a way that you admire? Ask her if you can serve alongside her one day or plan a project to do together when you return home. Discover her story and where her passion comes from. Or encourage a younger woman to sign up for a missions opportunity with you. Pray for ways you can reach others with the passion the Lord has given you to share His love.
Are you a part of a women’s group that meets to pray for missions and the work of your church? Make a connection with a prayer warrior. Ask someone to share about prayer and pray with you. Offer to pray with someone who seems to be quiet or struggle with knowing how to pray.
A mentoring relationship is an exciting part of the Christian journey and makes an eternal impact.
It’s all about seeking out women who point you to Jesus, not themselves, and walking alongside others on their Christian journey. What a wonderful way to grow, learn, share, and fellowship while also building a foundation for reaching out to others along the way, all for the glory of God!
Cara Brown is gleaning as much as she can from the godly women in her table group in Birmingham, Alabama.