Mentoring Relationships: How to Find Them, Why They Matter, and What I’ve Learned

Abbi Wright • 7 minutes

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We all desire that long-lasting sense of community in our lives—a friend to confide in, a person to share life’s ups and downs, or even a mentor to turn to for advice. I think all of us are craving a little more depth in our relationships, especially in light of the season of isolation we all experienced due to COVID-19

Mentoring relationships are a great way to pursue that depth, but how do we find those people? And once we find them, how do we actually forge the deep relationships we crave? 

We have time for what we make time for.

The busier life gets, the more difficult it can feel to find a mentor. But I’ve found that we have time for what we make time for. Most of us would probably be willing to invest time in a mentoring relationship if it would help us learn and succeed in our jobs. So why shouldn’t the same concept apply to our personal lives? 

As a follower of Christ in my early 20s, I realize I have so much to learn about life, relationships, and Jesus. I want to invest my time in relationships that will help me grow in those areas. If you’re anything like me, personal mentoring relationships can feel daunting, time-consuming, and way outside of your comfort zone. 

Do you struggle with being vulnerable enough to ask for help? As an introvert, I feel like it would be a lot easier to stay in my nice, comfortable bubble where I’m in control of the situation. But, as my pastor Craig Groeschel would say, “You can have control or you can have growth, but you can’t have both.”

Why We Need Mentors and What We Can Learn

Mentors can help us grow in our faith, prepare us for future seasons, and broaden our perspectives. Plus, think of how great it will make someone feel to know you value their input enough to ask for their mentorship!

Things I’ve Learned as I’ve Pursued Mentoring Relationships:

1. Mentoring Relationships Help Us Grow in Our Faith

I’m discovering that finding a mentor can be as simple as becoming more intentional with the relationships God has already placed in your life. Reaching out to an older member of my LifeGroup worked well for me. I chose this mentor because I admire their passion for Jesus and knowledge of the Bible

I later found a mentor in a sweet lady I served alongside in LifeKids. She shared my love for Lysa TerKeurst’s books.

You don’t have to ask people outright to be your mentor. In fact, I didn’t ask these women to be my mentors! I just asked potential mentors if we could grab a coffee or spend our lunch hour together to chat about what it looks like to authentically pursue Christ in college. These women helped me learn what it looks like to spend quiet time with God each day and begin to make my relationship with Him my own.

2. Mentoring Relationships Helps Us Prepare for Future Seasons

My most recent mentoring relationship looks like a family dinner with one of my Life.Church Stillwater pastors. This family strives to approach marriage and parenting in a way that honors God. 

Right now, I’m in a season of singleness as a young adult and navigating the balance of life and graduate school. But eventually, I hope to bring these same qualities into my own marriage and family. No time like the present to prepare for the future!

Mentoring doesn’t have to follow a certain template. I asked if I could bring my pastor’s family dinner once a week in exchange for their wisdom. I believe their exact words were, “You want to bring us food? Come on down!” We eat on the couch, we press pause when one of their kiddos needs a diaper change, and it’s absolutely a highlight of my week!

3. Mentoring Relationships Offer New Perspectives

My personal mentors have varied over the years in terms of age and stage of life, but each has offered a perspective totally different from my own. And each mentor felt honored that I valued their perspective enough to ask for their input in my life! 

As followers of Christ, we are built for community, and we all bring unique strengths to the table. You never know what you might learn from the different strengths and perspectives a mentor can offer.

Don’t underestimate the power of an outside perspective.

Hebrews 10:25 says simply meeting together brings us so much encouragement as we think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love. Don’t underestimate the power of an outside perspective. Our mentors may not be able to answer all our questions, but it’s likely they’ve lived through similar situations and can encourage us to keep working toward our goals.

If you take anything from these examples, I hope it’s that there really is no cookie-cutter formula to finding a mentor. The mentoring relationships in my own life didn’t turn out looking like I originally thought they were “supposed” to look. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m learning from the intergenerational, long-lasting sense of community they’re helping me establish. 

With an open mind and a willingness to learn, we can all add depth to the relationships in our lives through mentorship. You don’t even have to call it mentoring!

 So, What’s Your Next Step?

  • Take stock. Don’t overcomplicate it! God places specific people in our lives for a reason. Think about the people in your life—coworkers you admire, friends who are well-grounded in their faith in Christ, or people who serve alongside you and embody qualities you’d like to see in your life. How can you get some face time with those people?
  • Take action. Think about how great it will make someone feel to learn that you value them enough to ask for their input in your life!  Reach out to someone today–you’ll probably make their day. You don’t have to formally ask someone to mentor you. Ask if they have 20 minutes in their week when you could sit down and ask some intentional questions. For example, you could ask about:
    • what they wish they’d known at your age.
    • the best piece of advice they’ve recently received.
    • the best book they’ve read in the past year.
  • Take heart. If meeting in person isn’t an option for you right now, be encouraged and know there are many ways you can leverage technology to continue growing in your faith this season.
    • Consider starting a Bible Plan or listening to the You’ve Heard It Said podcast with a friend and then set up a time to call and discuss what God is teaching you.
    • Reach out to your local LifeGroups and LifeMissions team to get plugged into a mentoring relationship remotely.
    • Meet with your mentor via a virtual platform, such as Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

Prioritizing personal growth over personal comfort honors God.

If you find yourself craving depth in your personal relationships like I was, maybe it’s time to take a next step. I know it may feel awkward or intimidating at first, but prioritizing personal growth over personal comfort honors God. Pursuing mentoring relationships with people whose lives align with the grace and truth of Jesus allows us to do just that.

So, what are you waiting for? Take the next step to finding a mentoring relationship today. You just might encourage them, gain some wisdom, and have some fun in the process!