Take the Awkward Out of Mentoring

  • How do I seek out a mentor?
  • What do we talk about?
  • What kinds of things should we do when we are together?

I’m glad that the wheels in your brain are turning. It can be difficult to picture exactly how this mentor business is supposed to pan out. Before I get to some practical ideas for what to do with a mentor, let me define what a mentor is and isn’t. A mentor isn’t a program. It isn’t something that you schedule out of obligation or because “mentor” is a word you hear thrown around often in Christian circles. A mentor isn’t a super-Christian who has everything figured out and can somehow download it directly into your life simply by spending time with you. And speaking of spending time . . . being with a mentor shouldn’t be forced, awkward, or a drag. A mentor is simply a wiser, older Christian whose life has something to teach you about living for Christ. Learning from a mentor doesn’t have to look like a weekly appointment at Starbucks. In fact, mentoring is at its best when two people weave their relationship into the fabric of their everyday, normal lives. Think of spending time with a mentor like developing a friendship instead of a weekly appointment with your own personal biblical womanhood guru.

A mentor is simply a wiser, older Christian whose life has something to teach you about living for Christ.

In Lies Young Women Believe, authors Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh share some great ideas for how to connect with a mentor. I’ve copied slightly edited versions of their ideas into the list below and added a few of my own. Once you’re ready to obey the mandate God gives in Titus 2 to learn from “older” women and pour in to “younger women,” choose one of the action steps from this list and dive in!

1. Pull a random act of kindness by being a momma’s helper.

You won’t believe how much it will knock a young mom’s socks off if you show up with a babysitting kit in hand and ask if you can spend some time helping with the kids. Yep, you may get messy! But it’s a great chance for you to ask questions about motherhood in real time.

2. Ding-dong-stay a batch of cookies.

Bake up a batch of cookies (chocolate chip, of course!) for a woman you admire. Instead of ding-dong-ditching them anonymously on her front stoop, deliver them, and ask if you can stay and eat them together. Use that time over cookies and milk to start building a friendship, then ask if there is a time that you can bake cookies together soon.

3. Invite her into your world.

A great way to get to know a mentor is to let her see you in your environment. Invite her to your next track meet, volleyball game, or choir concert. Don’t assume that she is too busy or isn’t interested in what interests you. Let her see your talents, gifts, and passions so that she can counsel you about how to use them for God’s glory.

4. Grocery shop together.

Ask your mentor if you can help her grocery shop. I guarantee a trip to the store is already on her to-do list. You get the benefit of time with your mentor and an up-close view of what it takes to run a home, budget, meal plan, etc., and she gets to spend time with you on her turf and put your extra set of hands to work.

5. Pray together.

Perhaps the best way to connect is through prayer. There is an intimacy that comes with sharing your prayer needs and faithfully praying for the needs of another. If you and your mentor do nothing more than meet together to pray in person or over the phone, you will likely still find yourself more like Christ as a result. So if you’re looking for a mentor, the best way to start may simply to be finding a woman to ask, “Can we pray together?”

There’s no right or wrong way to learn from an older Christian.

There’s no right or wrong way to learn from an older Christian. In my life, having a mentor means getting together for sushi twice a year and talking for hours. For you it might mean asking a lot of questions of the woman you babysit for. The point is simply to find ways to connect with those women around you who can show you how to apply God’s Word to your life. Which brings me all the way back to you:

  • How do you connect with older Christian women?
  • What ideas do you have for things the readers of this blog can do with a mentor?

About the Author

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is married to her high school sweetheart, Jason, and together they parent four energetic boys on their small farm in the midwest. She is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies, the content manager for Revive Our Hearts, and a host of the Grounded videocast. You can hear her teach on The Deep Well with Erin Davis podcast.