How to Be an Effective Mentor

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We’re continuing our series with more of the information that came out of the Organic Mentoring Conference panel discussions. Each monthly update addresses the millennials’ answers to one of the panel questions (as provided by Sue in her book).

The panelists range in age from 21 to 34. All are Bible-believing Christians who love God and are actively seeking Him in their daily lives.


Question: If you could say one thing to older women that would be helpful if we want to learn how to be effective mentors, what piece of advice could you give to us?

K: I would say, look for us. I hope that makes sense. I said this in my small group when we were meeting. If you’re a young, single female and you’re holding on to going to church, but then church ends and everybody’s talking and you maybe stand around for a little bit and nobody says hi, you’re just going to go. At least that’s my personality. I mean I’m not going to walk up to a conversation that’s already going on and be like “Hi!” and if you sit out in your lobby at the end of church you’re going to see young people just walking out as soon as church lets out, because they don’t really have anything keeping them there and those are the people that wind up leaving the church because they don’t have anything keeping them there. So open up your eyes. I think it’s easy to get really comfortable at church with the circles of friends that we have and ministries we’re involved in and making sure we connect with so and so and such and such and we’re missing the people that are not [connected]. And so I think that if you’re trying to figure out a way to mentor people, look for the people who are lonely and greet them. Invite them over for lunch. They don’t have anywhere to go for lunch. They’re going to go home and eat some cold pizza. It means a lot.

A: I think being real. I mean, we’ve already touched on this but just being authentic in who you are will make you more approachable and also demonstrate who Christ was. I mean, Jesus was a real person and we all need to be that. We can’t put on our fake Christian face. It’s OK that we have flaws, it’s OK that we have weaknesses. We have to own up to them. I’ve sort of been in the role of being both a mentor and a mentee. Being involved with youth ministry, I’ve seen that with some of the girls, that they know if I’m pretending. If I don’t know what I’m talking about and I just google it and then pretend, they know. So that would be my biggest piece of advice, to just be real and don’t be scared to admit … you know you don’t have to expose all your dirty laundry, but don’t be ashamed to say, “you know, I really have messed up” or “I’ve done this in the past and this is what I’ve learned from it” and I think that for me, that would be someone I feel very comfortable with because they’re transparent.

B: I guess [my suggestion] would be [for a mentor] to not be afraid of being corrected in something that she thought. As somebody who has also been a mentor and mentee, you’re wrong sometimes. And that’s just a fact. You’re wrong sometimes. I myself am a very prideful person so I understand how hard it is to admit, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” or say, “I misinformed you.” But that means so much to somebody when you can just admit that you were wrong, especially when it is in the relationship of mentor and mentee because sometimes you may misinform them, or sometimes you might give them an opinion that they just don’t agree with, you might tell them something that you thought was true but isn’t. And it’s OK to be wrong. So don’t be afraid to have them correct you. Try, try, not to get defensive when they do. Because it’s hard but you’ll learn a whole heck of a lot more that way and the relationship will be that much more fruitful.

I hope that the insights of these millennials are helping you as you engage with the next generation!

Thank you again for your faithful prayers and your partnership in this important ministry!

Keep hoping. Keep praying. Keep loving.

Kristi, for WeConnect