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Mentoring Is More than Teaching

It’s actually a lot more like mothering.
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  • Set a weekly or bi-weekly reminder on your calendar to check in with mentees, whether or not they have contacted you.
  • Do an act of service for mentees, such as bringing over a meal, washing their car, or picking up their kids from school.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit how to pray specifically for your mentees. Share your prayers with them when appropriate.
  • Invite your mentees to step into a leadership role with you—allow them to teach one of your church classes or your Bible study, ask them to pray for a request you have, or request their advice on a spiritual challenge you face.
  • Ask for insight on a topic that your mentee has experience with or is passionate about.
  • Attend an event or meeting that they participate in or lead.

In these days of easy access to podcasts, TED talks, audio books, blogs, and tweets, it’s extraordinarily easy to find a teacher. It’s a lot harder to find people who care about our development like a loving parent. We have the opportunity to develop others in our churches by mentoring them with a parenting mindset, just as God the Father lovingly parents us. It’s easy to default to simply transmitting information, but let’s lean into the nurturing nature God has given us—the nature that reflects all the ways he is a good father.

Lisa Smith has a Ph.D. in Early American Literature and teaches English at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She serves in the small-group ministry of her local church and enjoys mentoring, praying with others, and teaching and studying how we process and share spiritual experiences.

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