Mentors -- what do they do?

Not sure where else this should go, so I figured this subforum was a good starting place Smile

A friend of mine (a young married mom) said that she had prayed about asking a woman in our church to mentor her, a la Titus 2. And she recommended that I pray about getting a mentor, to see if God would lead me in that way or bring any wise women in our church to mind. I wouldn't need to be mentored about husband/kids, since I'm 31 and single, but I am always open to wisdom and advice from wise, godly people.

But I'm wondering -- what does a mentor do? What would we talk about? How is it different from just getting coffee once a month to just chat? And I guess the mentoring would be about my entire life -- as opposed to a college mentor who would counsel you on classes, career, etc. Maybe she'd be a good person to be accountable to for my spiritual life. I don't really need career guidance. But advice about life in general would be great.

Does anybody have any thoughts on mentoring and what it looks like in someone's life? Thank you!!


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Ed Vasicek's picture

Well, terminology differs with the human mind and the church culture.

I consider myself a "mentor" to a few guys. That means I simply meet with them and talk with them on a regular basis (weekly usually). Mentoring, in my mind, is unstructured and free flowing. You might impart wisdom (give advice) or direction or talk about your experiences with a similar subject.

Whereas we usually have a structured system for discipleship (something measurable, like memorized verses or a workbook you go through, etc.) mentoring is trying to casually rub off on another by being yourself and being a friend (usually to someone younger). You might pray together about a few things. You might go to the word about a few things. Or you might talk about their day at school or problems at work.

Don't know if this helps -- particularly because these terms "mentoring" and "discipleship" can mean so many different things.

"The Midrash Detective"

Diane Heeney's picture

That's a good differentiation between mentoring and discipleship, Bro Ed. I have thought of mentoring more about what is "caught" than deliberately "taught." I send my daughter to the homes of several sweet, godly ladies in our church for sewing lessons, to help clean, and the like. I like her to be in the company of them, for what will rub off on her. Actually, I make more of an effort for this type of influence to happen than inviting a constant barrage of her peers to parade through the house. Wink

"I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian." --Whitefield

Jennifer Wilson's picture

Interesting! I definitely don't see this relationship as kind of a "counseling" relationship -- aka, let's talk about this topic today, and I'll give you some homework, and come back next week with that homework. But I'm not sure what I *do* see it as.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Jennifer, I would argue that your view of counseling is very formal. I am talking about what Diane is talking about. The whole idea is to "rub off."
Relax. Think of women talking over the fence or guys hanging around a coffee shop chatting. Think of a dad walking down the road talking to his son about the old days. I am talking about informal advice-giving, listening, and hashing over life. Get the homework, assignment thing out of your mind. There is no preparation for mentoring. It is simply sharing your humanity with another.

To mentor, you have to be comfortable going with the flow. Your goals are to help, influence, and build a relationship with those you mentor -- that's it. Not everyone is comfortable with such an undefined relationship and lack of "procedure." People who love programs and curriculum may not be natural mentors.

"The Midrash Detective"