The truth is that all of the above are true. You are never in too high or too low a position in the church to benefit from mentoring. Even pastors who have served for decades need a nudge in the right direction sometimes to help them remember what it means to lead a ministry.
Finding a mentor to help you grow in your role and relationship with God can be a long process. It takes time to consider whether they have relevant skills and life experiences to mentor you with meaning. Wherever you are in your life, mentoring could benefit you.
If you are curious about cultivating a stronger skillset and deepening your connection with God, keep reading. This guide outlines how to know if you're ready for mentoring and the best qualities to look for in a mentor.
What Is Spiritual Mentoring?
Spiritual mentoring creates a unique bond between God, mentor, and mentee. It helps to discern God’s direction in decision-making, which in turn offers guidance in life. If you have a big life decision to make or are at a crossroads, mentorship could be what you need.
How to mentor someone spiritually depends on many factors, but there are characteristics generally expected of a good mentor. They should encourage an environment of trust and understanding, set an example that you can learn from, and have a strong bond with God.
How Do I Know If I'm Ready for Mentoring?
To answer the question simply, everyone is always ready for mentoring. We all have room to grow and should prioritize bettering ourselves every day. While some people are attuned to the areas of themselves that need development and have the self-discipline skills to carry it out, others do not.
A prime time to reach out for mentoring is if you have a problem that needs solving. If you can't reach the answer alone, there is no shame in seeking guidance through mentorship, as it is simply a means to connect you with God. If you know you have room to grow and are ready to take the steps to get there, it’s time to find a mentor.
How to Find a Spiritual Mentor
Someone you already know.
Now that you have realized that you are ready, the next step is to find your spiritual mentor. You most likely already know this person, as mentoring takes place within a relationship. So be observant, and pay extra attention to the people around you. Spend time prayerfully considering the people who come to mind, and God will guide you toward the right path.
Someone in the local community.
If you have been the pastor at your church for several years, you might be in a position where no one seems appropriate. Pastors are accustomed to being mentors themselves, and can find it difficult to reach out to someone else. But don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Start networking and attending pastor meet-ups to widen your circle.
Someone in the wider community.
Attending Christian conferences should be normal practice for pastors and church leaders. If you are struggling to find a mentor to guide you, why not attend more conferences than usual? Speak to everyone you can, and trust that God will connect you with the person you need right when you need them.
Traits to Look For in a Mentor
Once you have found someone you think could be a good fit for you and where you are on your journey, you need to assess whether or not they have the characteristics you need. This will depend somewhat on your personality traits and whether or not you click with the potential mentor, but when in doubt, make sure they tick these boxes:
Do they have experience?
It is often beneficial to look to someone two or three steps ahead of you in terms of experience. Mentoring takes a lot of shepherding, which requires both life experience and practical pastoring experience.
Are they a strong leader?
Mentoring is an up close and personal leadership bond. As mentors are the figures who will lead you through life to a position of enhanced clarity, good leadership qualities are a must.
Are they available?
Finding the perfect person to mentor you is one thing. But finding a great mentor who is also available and willing to give you the time you need is another. Take this into account when doing your research. If they can’t offer you the time you need, it might stunt your progress.
Do they follow Jesus’ mentoring model?
Finding someone who loves God and lives by the Bible is a must. Someone who mentors like Jesus and follows Scripture to live a Godly life is even better. The Bible is full of mentorship, so find someone who will bring you closer to Jesus.
Choosing to find a mentor and better yourself as a Christian is a unique moment of opportunity and bonding. Church mentorship offers a chance to experience firsthand discipleship and build an organic connection with someone who has guidance to offer.