November 21, 2020
Some of the greatest periods of spiritual growth came out of seasons where I engaged with a Christian mentor. I first found a Christian mentor when I was serving in youth ministry. The types of behaviors and circumstances that my girls were dealing with was beyond my experience. I needed to find someone who could mentor me so that I could mentor them. It was in this season that I began an intentional search for help. Here are the tips I recommend to find a Christian mentor.
Determine why you want a mentor.
There are many good people in the world that can offer guidance in different areas so you need to answer why you want a mentor in the first place. I needed someone who had wisdom and experience in counseling young girls. How about you? Do you desire more peace? Do you want to parent in a godly manner? Do you need encouragement to do something you are afraid of doing? How about launching a business? Do you need help navigating a failing marriage? Setting your own goals will help you determine the “why” then you start looking for the “who”.
After you understand what you are hoping to learn from your Christian mentor then you need to pray to find them. Pray that God would reveal a person or couple that will help you. As you pray write down anyone that comes to mind. Once you have a short list of people evaluate if they appear to have the thing you are looking for.
Watch them. Do you like them?
If you want a mentor because you want a job like the or a platform like them you will end up frustrated. As you consider approaching them as a mentor make sure that you want to become like them. If there are individuals that you admire but don’t want to become like them, remove them from your list. This is a person you want to emulate in your own life.
Ask for the Holy Spirit to open a door to a mentoring conversation.
Why do I recommend having this “pause” in the process? It’s so you get the right mentor in the right season at the right time. I know that I have rushed into engaging with a mentor only to find they really didn’t have the time to commit. It felt awkward for me and for them. While asking for the Holy Spirit to lead isn’t a guarantee you won’t have setbacks it does improve your outcomes.
Ask them to coffee.
This is the precursor to asking them to mentor you. It’s a “get to know you” meeting. Think of it as an informal interview where you present your dilemma (organically in casual conversation of course). Let them share their thoughts and evaluate how they respond. Once the meeting is finished decide how it went. Do you see them as a person who could genuinely help you move forward? Do you think it is a good relational fit? I have engaged potential mentors that are brilliant but their style is not what works for me. Think about these things as you consider asking them the big question!
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NIV
Ask them to mentor you.
The most common mistake I hear from women who are looking for a mentor is that they never actually asked the person. The likelihood that your desired mentor is going to approach you to pour their time, effort and resources into you is slim to none. However, many people just need to be asked.
Be proactive and follow-up.
It is not the mentor’s job to follow-up with you and schedule meetings etc. It is up to the mentee to proactively pursue building a relationship with their mentor. When you make the initial ask, probe to find out how often would it be ok to meet or have a phone call. Then schedule a consistent pattern based on their answer. Be persistent in the beginning until an easy rhythm begins to form.
Evaluate the fruit.
After you have met with your Christian mentor several times you should assess the fruit. Do you feel you have grown? Are you learning? Do you get uplifted and encouraged? These are indicators that the relationship is a healthy one and you should continue to develop it. If you are not seeing much fruit or it has proven to be extremely difficult to get your mentor to engage then it is time to break off the (mentor/mentee) relationship.
Be willing to be mentored from afar.
I have several “distant” Chrisitan mentors. These are people that I don’t know personally but I desire to emulate their life. These are powerful women of faith that are writers, speakers, and podcasters some of whom you would know by name. I don’t have access to them directly but I can engage with them through social media, books, and listening to their content. Michael Hyatt offers some other suggestions on how to find a mentor.
Finding a good Christian mentor is a process. Developing a fruitful relationship where someone agrees to coach you through a season requires commitment from both you and the mentor. Be patient. Make sure you have clear goals, prayerfully select the person, wait for the right timing and make the ask. A Christian mentor can help you build faith habits that can change your life. I want to encourage you not to give up looking if you still haven’t found the right fit. I’d love to hear about your own experiences with mentors? What did they help you do? How were they good, bad, awful? Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply.