Good questions help you listen to your mentee’s heart and discern where she is spiritually. After she answers, summarize what you heard and let her verify the accuracy so both of you grasp her situation. When the mentee hears her own thinking, she begins to see the problem, and the door opens for spiritual growth. Good questions lead her to reflect, something she probably seldom has time to do, allowing her to process her life in light of God’s truth. Quality conversation takes the relationship beneath the surface and creates the depth young women crave. Her needs bubble to the surface. When this dynamic is present, she feels seen.
Discern Her Spiritual Situation
Spiritual mentoring needs to be both organic and organized. Coming from Auckland, New Zealand, which is called the “City of Sails,” I see the organized elements (such as showing up in each other’s lives, listening “fiercely,” and asking great questions) as hoisting the sails so that the organic elements (the wind of the Spirit, in an attitude of daily dependence) can hit our sails and take us to places in our relationship that we would never have dreamed.
Organic mentoring may be natural but isn’t without effort. As the mentor listens she works hard to discern the young woman’s place on her journey with Jesus. To do this you must listen to the mentee, the Spirit, and yourself—all at the same time. Now, that takes serious mental and spiritual effort.
As you listen to the young woman, be alert for unbiblical thinking, sinful or unwise behavior, harmful habits, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, knowledge of the Bible, her understanding of God. Is this mentee just starting the journey, or has she traveled the road for a while? What experiences with God does she bring with her? Listen for what the Spirit reveals and how He might direct the conversation. God is the one who causes growth, and He has opinions about the life of your mentee. How is He moving? You are there to help her hear and respond to God’s presence and activity in her life.
Listen to your own thoughts as well. What obstacles in her life do you observe? What comes to you from Scripture? Is there a similar experience in your life you can relate? Mentoring is a dynamic interaction between listening and discerning. This has been referred to as “wholly listening, holy listening, and holy seeing.” Mastery of this skill enables you to bring life-giving truth to your mentee and comes with practice over time. Give yourself grace and depend completely on God to work through you in the process. He will.