whether or not Your lips move

You speak to me

Mentoring: Practical Ideas for Getting Started January 27, 2010

Filed under: mentoring,relationship with God — Ash @ 3:42 pm
Tags: ,

Mentoring doesn’t have to be a big, scary time commitment or even just going through a Bible study (though obviously there is nothing wrong with time commitments and Bible studies!). Mentoring is life on life. Think about how Jesus mentored: He spent several years in close contact, took opportunity of “teachable moments,” accepted people’s flaws while also challenging them, and most of all, loved. I know Jesus is our example and model and He was perfect. But thankfully ANYONE can mentor. You were made to invest yourself in others. You can do it!

Things to remember:

  • Be real, open, honest, authentic, transparent, and genuine in your interactions.
  • Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of people who need a mentor. Pray, watch, and ask just one younger person to hang out now and then (ideas below).
  • Pay attention to your heart. If a young person’s situation or life story really tugs at you or you have a shared experience or interest, this may be the Holy Spirit telling you that he/she is the one to approach.
  • Whenever possible, try to see each other face-to-face within your natural settings. Be open to and utilize other forms of communication but try to actually spend time together.
  • It might take some time for you to reach a level of relationship in which the younger person feels comfortable to share his/her struggles. Others may start sharing from the very beginning. Be flexible and seek the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  • Know when it’s time to refer someone for professional help.
  • You will have to accept the fact that you might be rejected. Please, please don’t give up. God has certain individuals who need YOU to invest in them.
  • Be loving. Love, love, and love some more.

 

Ideas for those 65 and up

  • Find a church in the area that seems to be geared mainly toward young people and attend frequently. They need your presence there more than they might realize.
  • Recent surveys are showing that the younger generations (those under 30 specifically) are very open to your generation’s genuine involvement in their lives.
  • If there are things about technology that you have questions about, ask a young person. Chances are he/she will be more than happy to spend time with you to show you how to use something.
  • Have a young person over for dinner. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal.
  • Share your stories. You’ve lived through things younger people have only read about in history books. Give them your thoughts and memories on these events and how they affected your life.
  • Share your hobbies and offer to teach young people how to do them. The younger generations are also extremely open to learning things like how to change the oil in a car, how to make clothes, and so on.
  • Some young people will seem resistant to communication on the phone and will want to communicate via email, Facebook, or text. Try not to take it personally; what they are really looking for is time face-to-face.
  • Do one activity or go one place that is out of the norm for you, but is familiar for the young person. Then do something together that is out of his/her norm.
  • Send a handwritten note or card. Young people hardly ever get these.
  • Pray together.

 

Ideas for those 50-64

  • Find a church in your area that seems to be attracting mostly younger people (if yours isn’t already). Look for needs among young parents, for instance, and offer to help.
  • Talk about music. Seriously. Recent surveys have found that you probably have more similar musical tastes with the younger generations than you might have thought.
  • Recent surveys are showing that the younger generations (those under 30 specifically) are very open to your generation’s genuine involvement in their lives.
  • Don’t be afraid to share your life stories. Young people want to hear them—especially the ones that might not always be “neat and tidy.” Share your mistakes and how you learned from them.
  • Share your hobbies and offer to teach young people how to do them. The younger generations are also extremely open to learning things like how to cook, how to change the oil in a car, and so on.
  • Nothing beats a good cup of coffee, so offer to have a younger person over to your home or to meet up at a coffee shop.
  • Some young people will seem resistant to communication on the phone and will want to communicate via email, Facebook, or text. Try not to take it personally; what they are really looking for is time face-to-face.
  • Do one activity or go one place that is out of the norm for you, but is familiar for the young person. Then do something together that is out of his/her norm.
  • Do some service projects together.
  • Pray together.

 

Ideas for those 30-49

  • Talk about music. Thanks to trends like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, those younger than you may totally dig the bands you grew up with.
  • Seek out newlyweds, new parents, or any other young persons who are in some sort of transition period. Find out what their practical needs are and meet them.
  • Find common interests and have a blast hanging out together. This can be anything from riding roller coasters to crocheting to shooting at the range to walking around the mall.
  • Talk about what your life was like growing up. Share stories and don’t leave out your mistakes; younger people will be very open to learning from your mistakes.
  • Spend time with each other’s families if you can. Let the younger person see how you interact with your family on a day-to-day basis and take opportunities to include him/her in your normal schedule. For instance, invite him/her to ride with you while you take your kids to gymnastics or swim lessons.
  • Do some service projects together.
  • Pray together.

 

Younger generations: Add to the conversation! What are some things you would like to do with a mentor at first?

Older generations: Help us out! What are some things that have worked (or not worked) for you as you seek to mentor?

Advertisements
 

5 Responses to “Mentoring: Practical Ideas for Getting Started”

  1. Lem Usita Says:

    what a great post ashley. i’m sending my students to this post to read. what would you suggest for the 20 something?
    http://identityspecialist.wordpress.com

    • Ash Says:

      thanks, Lem! I’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t!

      As for the 20-somethings, I was thinking about that. As far as I’m concerned, even teenagers can mentor those younger than them. Since those in their 20s and teens have more in common these days, I’m wondering if that makes it easier to mentor, or if it makes it more challenging. Have you heard one way or the other from anyone on this?

      In my own experience I’ve found it important to be natural and take the first step to get to know those younger than me. I try to keep up with current trends and things that are relevant to them. A lot of us who are 29 and younger have come from interesting and sometimes complicated family backgrounds (it’s “abnormal” to come from a “traditional family”) and I find that this connection point for me is an easy way to build friendships and opportunities for mentoring.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LifeWayGirlsMinistry, PastorShan and Ken Lupton, Life Focus. Life Focus said: RT @LifeWayGirls Great blog post on mentoring: http://tinyurl.com/yfltdtl […]

  3. Chris Adams Says:

    Great article, Ashley! Thanks for sharing these practical ideas.

  4. Ariah Fine Says:

    Awesome list. Very intriguing, and encouraging to me to get a mentor and a mentee


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s