5 Reasons Why We Need Mentors
The night sky was pitch black, save for the twinkling stars that littered the sky in what seemed like a beautiful, yet haphazard sprinkling in the sky. It was as if God had crushed the moon into small, fine moon crumbs and artistically sprayed them over the expanse of the firmament. A crisp, cool minty wind blew lightly, causing my sun-baked skin to create some small goose bumps.
I stood there inhaling the aroma emanating from the kebab meat on the grill. Austin turns the lamb kebabs, careful to keep them away from mixing with the beef kebabs. My mouth was salivating, as I waited to devour this culinary masterpiece. I had not eaten much that day, as I had been traveling. Rutendo and I were in Kauai, Hawaii for our mentoring visit with Lieutenants Austin and Nayomia Anderson.
What is mentoring, anyway? According to the dictionary, a mentor is defined as: “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mentor) The Bible does not seem to mention the word “mentor,” but we see many an example of mentoring relationships. I think of Elijah mentoring Elisha; Eli mentoring Samuel; Jesus mentoring His disciples; and Paul mentoring Timothy.
Why is mentoring important?
To me, having a mentor is very helpful. I remember a day during the hustle and bustle busy Christmas Kettles day. I was tired and had just dealt with a very difficult situation. I felt dejected, discouraged, and overwhelmed. My mentor, Major Bill Nottle called me. He said, “My wife and I just finished praying for you. We hope you are doing well.” I was surprised. How did he know what I was going through? God sent him with an encouraging message, just at the right time. Having a mentor gave me the confidence that someone is watching my back. Someone is praying for me. Someone is available to give a word of advice and encouragement. I know I do not walk the journey alone. How comforting!
Mentoring blesses both the mentee and the mentor. The mentee receives tools to use in the workplace or ministry. The mentee becomes confident, and able to be more productive and fruitful. On the other hand, the mentor has an opportunity to serve by dispensing advice and wisdom. The mentor has the privilege of walking alongside God’s children. As a mentor, you have the blessing of witnessing your advice produce fruit in others.
Why you need a mentor:
- Experience. All of us can learn from those who have walked the path before us. They know something we do not.
- Accountability.We all have blind spots – sins and behaviors of which we are unaware. Mentors see our blind spots. Let your mentor speak into your life. Let them help you see and develop your potential. Let them challenge you to walk with the Lord. Let them keep you accountable.
- Networking. Mentors often know people and resources that are beyond our reach. It is imperative that we take advantage of these contacts to develop ourselves and ministries. Sometimes you just have to make one phone call to your mentor, and then doors begin to open.
- Cheerleader. You can receive encouragement by simply watching your mentor at work. In addition, your mentor can be one of your greatest cheerleaders and allies. He or she believes in you.
- Advocate. Your mentor can be your advocate and supporter in cases where you need to be heard. If you are going through difficult times, your mentor can be a reliable sounding board, as well as your representative to your superiors.
- Who has helped you grow in your Christian walk?
- How has he/she helped you?
- Do you have someone you talk to about your spiritual life?
- When you do, are you really open, or you just share surface problems?
- How can you deepen your conversations with your mentor?
- Pray for a mentor. Call the person ask him/her to be your mentor.
- Go for it.