Mentoring: it’s not just a cool « buzz » word

This fall issue of the MOSAIC focuses primarily on mentoring. It is a topic that is very close to my heart as I have tried to be an advocate for the great benefits that it can bring to those who choose to participate.

I was eighteen years old when I made a conscious decision to follow Christ. I was very eager to learn as much as I could about my faith – I read the Bible as well as other books, attended classes for new believers, and asked many questions.

I can think of several people who allowed me to meet with them after school, before Sunday services, and on weekends. They took me with them as they visited the elderly and when they handed out soup and sandwiches to the homeless. They called me, prayed with me and helped me walk through some very difficult situations in those early years. I really appreciated spending time with them and sharing their experiences because they spoke with so much more wisdom than I had. Although we never labeled this friendship at the time – looking back now, I realize that they were my mentors.

I often wonder what my life would be like had they not chosen to invest their time (a real commodity) in discipling me. I think of the lives that I have been able to touch because my mentors invested in me – and committed themselves to “being there.”

Can I make a blanket statement? We should all be looking for opportunities to be mentored and to mentor no matter what stage of our Christian lives we find ourselves. Mentoring should be a natural part of our development and does not necessarily have to be a formal or scheduled event. We all have areas in our lives where we could learn from others; and similarly, there are many parts of our lives that others can learn from. I think the real test is seizing those opportunities when they present themselves.

There is an enormous ripple effect that takes place in mentoring. I am able to affect the lives of others positively because my life has been affected. The lives that I have touched will touch others, and so on, and so on, and so on . . . {some of you may remember the 1970’s Faberge Organics Shampoo commercial?}

The classic definition of a mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor or guide.” I still have mentors; individuals whom I believe in and who have walked through situations in their lives that I can now learn from. Recently, I asked one of my friends for advice – “Lisa, this is the way I did it . . but if I had to do it all over again, I would do it differently . . .” Being a mentor does not always mean doing everything right – it does involve pulling back the cover of your life and allowing others to look inside.

Lisa Howden
Managing Editor for the
MOSAIC a publication of The Free Methodist Church in Canada