Is Biblical Mentoring Right for You?
Have you ever considered yourself to be fairly informed? You’ve felt as if you were somewhat knowledgeable in many areas and you’re more than happy to share your wealth of knowledge with others? Then, out of nowhere, you have an unexpected moment where you realize you don’t have all the answers?
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all had moments where we realize we don’t quite know as much as we thought we did about a subject matter or situation. It can be rather humbling when the moment strikes.
I remember my first doctoral studies class. I walked into the class with much excitement ready to begin my journey. It wasn’t long after taking my seat that the reality of my situation hit me and I did not feel as prepared as I initially thought upon entering the classroom. My excitement transitioned to a feeling of uncertainty once the discussions started flowing. A few of my classmates seemed years ahead of me discussing various leadership theories and case studies.
Thankfully, the professor, who was also one of my mentors, subtly encouraged input from the newest members of the class. She had an innate ability to create a safe space for learning, challenging her students every step of the way. This same mentor helped me navigate my doctoral journey right up to my dissertation defense.
The Significance of Biblical Mentoring
This professor and her mentorship had such a lasting impact on me that I focused my research on the benefits of mentoring female doctoral students. My dissertation addressed the significant impact mentoring had on the success of female doctoral students.
At the time, I discovered the majority of the mentoring research focused on male mentors with little information on female mentors. Since success in graduate school is often tied to mentoring relationships, I felt it was essential to study the role mentoring plays in the success of graduate students and give voice to the female students and their female faculty mentors.
The truth is that we all need guidance in our journey whether we are navigating graduate school, a new job, a new community, or motherhood. With the support of a mentor, we are able to overcome life’s roadblocks and challenges. Mentors help us navigate the expected situations in our journey.
There will always be people with more experience, different perspectives, and more knowledge than us. These people have so much to offer if we are open to their guidance.
Proverbs 1:5 (CEV) says, “If you are already wise, you will become even wiser. And if you are smart, you will learn to understand.”
Holman KJV Study Bible explains Proverbs 1:5 as “a man of understanding has the capacity to understand what he hears and sees and to internalize knowledge so that it directs his actions.” These words sum up the significance of biblical mentorship and the importance of leadership capacity, both of which we can benefit from.
What is Biblical Mentoring?
Biblical mentoring is when a Christian mentor shares her knowledge and experiences to encourage and support the mentee. A biblical mentor also serves as a spiritual guide assisting the mentee in her spiritual growth. Mentoring is a mutualistic relationship where both parties thrive from the exchange.
Mentoring relationships can take many forms. Successful mentor-mentee relationships can lead the mentee to also serve as a mentor to a younger or less experienced individual, paying it forward.
In my experiences, I’ve enjoyed mentoring relationships with senior women who have helped me navigate the complexities of my journey. I have also developed reciprocal mentoring relationships where we both shared our experiences and knowledge while holding one another accountable. And, I have served as a mentor with younger mentees of whom I equipped, encouraged, and empowered in their journey.
Most importantly, biblical mentors serve.
“You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others.” 2 Timothy 2:2 (CEV)
What Biblical Mentoring Is Not?
Biblical mentoring is not professional counseling. A counselor focuses on issues or problems of the past and is an expert (licensed) in providing healing for emotional, physical, and mental wellness. In counseling, the counselor and patient have weekly or monthly sessions that are somewhat formal and always conducted at the counselor’s office. Counseling is beneficial and there are superb licensed Christian counselors for those seeking healing.
Biblical mentoring should not be confused with coaching. As a biblical mentor, I walk alongside the mentee and share my experiences, knowledge, and expertise. A biblical mentor offers encouragement, advice, support, and accountability helping the mentee navigate her journey.
A biblical life coach moves you from where you currently are to where you would like to be.As a biblical life coach, I encourage, challenge, motivate and ask the hard questions to assist the person in making decisions to reach their goals. Dr. Robin Revis Pyke Click To Tweet
Life coaching is action-based and results-focused.
Are You Ready to Mentor?
You might be wondering how you can find a biblical mentor, how you can become a biblical mentor, or how it all really works. We’ll unpack these questions this month. But, for now, I’d like to share a few tips for finding a biblical mentor and how to proceed with the mentoring relationship.
- Decide what you would like to gain from a mentoring relationship. Do you want to learn a particular skill? Would you like the mentor to help you grow spiritually? Decide before the mentoring relationship your goal for the mentoring.
- Meet with your mentor regularly. This will look different for each pairing, depending on each person’s availability and the urgency of the mentoring. The mentor meetups can take many forms depending upon the needs of the mentee. Some may meet once a week. Some may meet monthly. These meetups can take place across various mediums whether in person or online.
- Prepare for your session. Each mentoring session may be different depending on the mentee’s needs or the agreed-upon agenda. The beginning of each session is usually an opportunity to catch up, but this is also dependent upon your relationship with the mentee. The priority of your session should center on the needs of the mentee including learning and encouragement.
- Confidentiality and communication are vital to the success of the mentoring relationship. The mentoring relationship is built on trust and transparency. The communication must be open and honest while respecting the privacy and perspectives of both the mentor and mentee. Judgment and condemnation have no place in a mentoring relationship.
- Most importantly, Ask! If there is an individual you have in mind for a mentor, ask! I’ve heard so many women share how much they would love a person to serve as their mentor, but they were too afraid to ask the person. If you know someone and feel they would serve well as a mentor, reach out and ask if they could meet you for coffee. Nothing elaborate or fancy just set a date and make sure you are on time and prepared. Most women I know are more than happy to serve as a mentor. But, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
I hope to hear from you this month with an update on your journey. If you’re seeking a mentor to walk alongside you on your spiritual journey, spend time in prayer seeking God’s direction. Ask Him to assist you in your search for a biblical mentor. And, if you’re a bit hesitant in your search for a biblical mentor, let’s connect. I’d be happy to serve as your spiritual mentor!
Keep on shining!