Last week, we released a new downloadable resource from GiftedForLeadership.com called "Effective Mentoring." For the many of you who purchased this, we wanted to make sure you had a forum to discuss your thoughts on it. We'll be doing this after each new downloadable resource is made available. Here's a snippet from one of the download's featured articles, "Time to Mentor" by Lesa Engelthaler. Let us know what you think! –The Editors
Much of my formative spiritual growth resulted from older Christian women saying yes to my cries for help. I was clueless about the sacrifice they made to add me to their schedules. They were busy pastors' wives, college professors, or women with careers, all deeply involved in ministry. Even so, these women took time to invest in me. Because of their modeling, I felt compelled to do unto others what they had done unto me.
Yet, as I grew older and "did the math," mentoring one woman a year didn't seem enough. In 1996, I prayed for God to show me other women in our church with the same passion. The answer to that prayer was for me to begin a program to partner women one-on-one for a one-year commitment.
It was not an easy decision. I'm a pastor's wife with a career and already involved in many areas of the church. Where would I find time? So I had one rule for the program: keep it simple. I didn't want something that took tons of administration, and the women involved certainly didn't need "one more meeting." I promised that this program would help them get intentional about a ministry they probably already did - influencing and encouraging other women.
My keep-it-simple mantra came from C.S. Lewis: "Think of me as a fellow-patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, could give some advice."
In the fall of 1997, at an all-church women's dinner, we announced the new ministry: Disciples at Heart. Then we had an informational meeting to explain details: our goal is not intense Bible study, but meeting for encouragement. The commitment is once a month for one year. The participants fill out an information profile, which helps us prayerfully pair them.
This is the hardest part, yet every year I'm in awe at how God sovereignly pairs up women we've never met. Then we contact each woman to provide her partner's name, and the program basically runs itself.
The only extra commitment is attending two group meetings each year. This has become a vital part of the ministry, because when women look around the room filled with others who think discipleship is important, it helps us see that we're a part of a bigger multiplication plan.