Most of us can think of someone who served as a formal or informal mentor in our lives. Some examples include parents, coaches, teachers, Bible study teachers, colleagues, supervisors or neighbors. While you may not even know where your mentor lives anymore, his or her legacy likely still lives on within you. God calls us to serve one another as mentors and provides us numerous stories, proverbs, and admonishments to help us understand how to do it well. If you are willing to step up to the plate, here are a few items you will to take with you on your journey.
Be a living sacrifice
In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul calls us to “imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” Christ stepped down from His place of honor and comfort to walk alongside us, teach us and give us hope. Are you willing to follow Christ’s lead and sacrifice a couple hours per month of your time and offer your heart, mind and spirit to encourage, teach and give hope to someone in need?
Ephesians 5 also invites us to “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). You are dearly loved. Do you feel it? He showers us with His love every day — in our times of joy and especially in our times of sorrow and need. Out of overwhelming gratitude for God’s love (comfort, wisdom, strength, peace) that has been poured out in your life, can you share some of that love with another?
James 1: 145 says, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” It is the willingness to endure, the spiritual strength, faith and hope to press on when times are tough, that leads us to the blessings that God has for us. Have you faced any trials in your life? What have you learned about perseverance? How might you share this with another?
The Bible says that they will know we are Christians by our love. In Thessalonians 2:8, Paul wrote, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” Paul models this further in 1 Corinthians 4:17 when he says, “I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” Are you willing to sacrifice a little of the time God has given you, with gratitude, to share your heart and experience with someone whom God has placed in your life?
A commitment to personal growth
One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” If you are interested in growing in knowledge, faith, love and endurance while seeing God work mightily through you, step forward and choose the abundant life of mentorship.
There are numerous opportunities to mentor someone in your community or church. This can be done informally by simply identifying an individual whom you feel called to support and beginning to invest in him or her by sharing your knowledge, skills, resources, encouragement and experience with that person. This can happen through a Bible study group, service organization or simply in your workplace, church or neighborhood.
Below are a few of the many more formal opportunities to serve as a mentor.
The Gathering of Palm Beach is a national organization that “provides resources that teach men how to build meaningful relationships with God, their family and other men through evangelism, discipleship and leadership training.” To get involved, go to gatheringpb.com.
The mission of The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program is “to inspire, motivate and empower at-risk young women to live up to their full potential through a unique mentoring program with highly accomplished professional women and scholarship opportunities.” The girls who participate in the program have a 9 percent graduation rate compared with the US average of 57 percent for the same demographic. Similarly, 90 percent of Women of Tomorrow mentees enroll in higher education. Visit womenoftomorrow.org for information.
Mentor opportunities are also available at Take Stock in Children, a comprehensive program that promotes accountability, parental involvement and resources to support student success. Their graduation rate is 92 percent, which exceeds the 38 percent national average cited above, and their rate of enrollment in higher education is 87 percent. For more information, go to takestockinchildren.org.
Tagline: Terry Morrow Nelson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University. She is the President of Morrow and Associates Partnership for Leadership and Transformation and a Certified Christian Conciliator. She can be reached at [email protected]