Imagine how helpful it would be to have a mentor - a friend committed to guiding, serving and encouraging you as you grow spiritually. You can enjoy the benefits of a mentoring relationship if you prepare yourself for it and seek the right mentor.


Here are some of the ways you can prepare yourself to be mentored:

 

  • Consider what aspects of a mentoring relationship you would most value. Would you like someone to help with your practical needs and connect you to resources? Would you like a mentor to encourage and affirm you? Do you want someone to teach you or study with you? Are you looking for someone to listen to you and provide counsel? Would you appreciate guidance from a mentor who has strong leadership skills?


  • Consider the qualities that someone being mentored should have - an eagerness to learn, a gentle spirit, persistence, courage to be open and honest about himself or herself, humility and a respect for the life experience and spiritual maturity of a mentor. Ask God to cultivate those qualities in you.


  • Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses spiritually, mentally, and physically. Accept Jesus' unconditional love for you and realize the importance of relying on His grace and the help of others who love Him so you can grow throughout your life.


  • Think about which character traits you would most like to strengthen, and review the history of crises you've experienced in your life to consider how each affected you as a person. Determine whether you would like a mentor to help you with healing before you can focus on growth. Consider how a potential mentor can model godly character qualities you may not have seen modeled growing up.


  • Think about your relationships with family members, friends, and others. Consider how a mentor could help you interact with them better to build stronger relationships.


  • Realize that your perspective on life will be different from your mentor's perspective if he or she is a member of a different generation. Although your mentor doesn't need to be older than you - just more spiritually mature - he or she may be approaching life differently from you due to age. If that turns out to be the case, commit to taking the time to understand his or her perspective and respect his or her life experience.


  • Understand the qualities that a potential mentor should have - such as a strong commitment to Jesus, compassion for others and a sensitivity to God's voice. Realize that a mentor who would serve you best probably isn't currently close to you, like a parent, so he or she can be objective when helping you grow.


  • Evaluate your expectations of a mentor. Think about how important each expectation is to you, then consider whether your expectations are realistic or unrealistic. Understand that you will need to be flexible in a mentoring relationship, and that your mentor will enter the relationship with expectations as well. Ask God what He wants your mentoring relationship to look like, and what purposes He would like it to fulfill.


  • Look around for people you respect and think and pray about whether you should ask one of them to be your mentor. Ask friends to suggest people if you'd like.


  • Think about what specific ways you'd like your mentor to help you grow, and how much time you're willing to make for the relationship.


  • After you find a mentor, begin the relationship by signing a covenant that describes the details of the relationship upon which you mutually agree, and sets a date to reevaluate the relationship to make sure it's working.


  • Commit to respect each other's privacy and boundaries, hold each other accountable, and speak truthfully and lovingly to each other.

Adapted from Seeking Wisdom: Preparing Yourself to be Mentored by Edna Ellison and Tricia Scribner, copyright 2001 by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, Ala., www.newhopepubl.com., 1-800-968-7301.

Edna Ellison and Tricia Scribner write from the experience of their own mentoring relationship. Edna is ministry consultant for Woman's Missionary Union, the largest Protestant missions organization in the world. Tricia has served as the coordinator for the women's mentoring ministry in her church and has served in volunteer missions in the United States and abroad.

What are some of the ways a mentor has helped you, and why would you recommend a mentor to others? Visit Live It's forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.