Mentoring relationships have had a significant impact on my growth in the Lord. For the past 20 years I have sought out mentors for myself and tried to mentor those younger than me in their faith.
Some of these relationships have been set up formally, meeting together weekly for Bible study or monthly to work on ministry projects together. Others have been informal, just talking over coffee. These women have listened to me when I was struggling, challenged me when I was in sin, laughed with me about daily events and encouraged me in the Lord.
So how do you find a mentor? Many women hope in vain for a phone call from an older woman, offering to mentor them. I have found it more productive to take a pro-active approach. When evaluating the suitability of a mentor, I ask myself many questions, such as, “Is this a godly woman? Do I respect this woman? Is this woman seeking to live for God? Will this woman encourage me in my walk with the Lord? Is there something I can offer to this woman?” and other questions of that nature.
I shy away from women who gossip, women who don’t speak respectfully of their husbands and women who seem negative about their kids. I know several older women who I would enjoy spending more time with, but I have to limit these relationships to a select few, due to time constraints. Some of my mentors live so far away now that we have to rely on email and only get to see one another occasionally.
The next step in finding a mentor is being intentional in the relationship. When I was a new Christian I met regularly for prayer and Bible study with a couple of women who were more mature in their walk with the Lord. Other times, I have chosen to get involved in ministries in order to serve under the leadership of a woman I admire. Most of the time these relationships are more informal. I will invite an older woman to my home or out to coffee, purposefully seeking out opportunities to spend time with her. Usually there is no set agenda. I just know that spending time with godly women will yield fruit in both of our lives.
If you don’t have any mentoring relationships, I would encourage you to be intentional and proactive in seeking out a mentor. Don’t wait by the phone for her to call you first.