rebelling against low expectations

How do I ask an older believer to mentor me?


C.J. WRITES: Lately I’ve been realizing that I really need to hang out with and learn from the older women in my church. I’m not sure how to bring up the idea of being mentored or discipled. Any advice would be awesome. Thanks y’all!

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  • This is definitely a good question. I would recommend talking to your youth pastor. He could bring it to the attention of your pastor. Also, just simply asking your parents about it could start some sort of conversation. Your parents could easily talk to some people at your church and ask about mentoring you.

    At the beginning of this year, my pastor said that all adults on staff at our church needed to mentor one teenager for that year. He explained how teenagers need someone that they are not related to who could mentor them and be there for them. I am very glad that he laid down that rule. Sometimes all I need is to just talk to someone who I trust about things going on at home, my Bible time, my prayer life, etc. I definitely encourage you to look into this because having a mentor is very important and helpful.

  • Hey CJ! I first encourage you to pray about it. As Christians we have all been given the greatest mentor.
    “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” -John 14:26
    I think it is so awesome that you are seeking wisdom from older women. That shows a sure sign of maturity in you and a desire to be more like Christ.
    I caution you to not pick hastily. I believe that a lot of dangers can come from not picking the mentor Christ would have you have.
    I understand that it is not possible for everyone to have a mentorship in their parents, but if your mom is a believer and has a relationship with Christ, I would strongly advise you to build on that relationship. My Momma is my best friend and I believe it was God’s original plan that all parents be that to their children.
    I believe seeking mentorship outside your family when they are strong believers can be very dangerous and does not encourage strong family ties.
    If having your mom as your mentor is not possible asking God for wisdom is the best thing to do. Fellowship with older women in your church and just talk to them. That is how mentorship begins. God will bring you the right woman if that is what he wills.

    • Haven, I work in children’s ministry at my church, and I have learned that having Christians outside of our families pouring into us is critical. The reason so many teenagers are leaving the church is because they didn’t have adults in the church who invested in their lives.

      Parents are our primary spiritual influencers, but every kid needs some adults in his life who care about him and who he can trust. If he’s ever in a difficult situation and is afraid to talk to his parents about it, he can go to another adult who has been a mentor to him, and that person can help him deal with the situation and give advice on how to approach his parents about it. These mentor relationships often last for years after kids graduate and move on. I’ve heard stories of people calling their small group leader from middle school later in life when they needed to talk about something.

      This is why God gave us the church–so that we can learn from believers who are older than us and pour into those younger than us. It’s really a beautiful thing. I hope you get to be part of relationships like this!

      • Hey Amanda! I am so sorry if I gave you the impression that I was attacking children’s ministry or the church as a whole. That is not the impression I want to leave.
        To put it frankly, I think you and I just have a difference of opinion and that is totally ok.
        I think we could debate for years on why so many teens are leaving the church, but I do not believe you can say it is solely because adults aren’t investing in their lives.
        I disagree with you on why God gave us the church. I believe God gave us the church to better emulate the bride of Christ, to participate in corporate worship and prayer, to be unified in Him: together, and separately seeking a relationship, as well as being edified and taught the scriptures.
        I agree with you that mentorship is an important and beautiful aspect of the church, but I disagree that it was the reason for the church.
        In part of your comment you made the statement, “Every kid needs some adults in his life who care about him and who he can trust.”
        I totally agree with you. I believe it is their parent’s responsibility to do that. I understand that not all parents take that responsibility and in that case the individual should seek counsel elsewhere. I believe that constantly telling a teen to seek mentorship in their youth pastor or another christian manwomen can be unhealthy for the relationship God created them to have with their parents. I am not saying they shouldn’t seek counsel from other older brothers and sisters in Christ. I am just saying that their relationship with their parents is something they were born into and it should be fostered and protected. I believe that if the relationship has been fostered and protected accordingly they will not be afraid to go to their parent when in need.
        A relationship with your parents can also last for years and is one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.

        • Hi Haven and Amanda! I see both of your points here. Personally, I find it really hard to open up to my mom about stuff. I know she loves me and she loves the Lord, but I’m just not always comfortable with it. I don’t know why, but I think a lot of teens feel this way.

          Family bonds are definitely important. Certainly, parents are supposed to train up their children in the ways of the Lord. There is no doubt about that.

          In Titus 2 we see that older women are to train up younger women and older men to train up younger men. This, I believe, is Biblical support for the concept of mentoring, as well as the relationship between Paul and Timothy. We know that Timothy had a very godly mother and grandmother, so although we don’t know about his father, we can assume that Paul’s choice to become Timothy’s “mentor” was in addition to the solid foundation Timothy already had, not that Timothy lacked good Christian parents to mentor him and so Paul thought he should step in as a substitute. (Correct me if that isn’t accurate.)

          I don’t have a mentor, but if I wasn’t so timid I might ask one of the young women in our church. I think having someone as a mentor that I can talk freely to without awkwardness would be really awesome.

          • Yes! That’s how it is for me too. Many teens are uncomfortable talking to their parents about deeper, more serious issues, and that’s part of why it’s so critical to have others involved who we might feel more comfortable with. If, for example, someone was struggling with an eating disorder or contemplating suicide and was afraid to discuss it with his or her parents, it could potentially be lifesaving to have another adult in that person’s life who they could talk to.

            I agree with your assessment of Paul and Timothy. We all need a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in our lives. 🙂

            I encourage you to find people like that, Olivia. I have found that I don’t go to one person with everything, but I have different friends and mentors I talk to about different issues, and I have one or two people who I know I can call at any time if I need to just spill my guts about something. God has given me adults in my life who will pray with me over the phone and give me advice based on their own life experience. Definitely seek out those kinds of relationships! Pray about it, and God will show you who to talk to. 🙂

          • I absolutely agree with this Olivia! It was literally just what I was going to say! I have had a lot of difficulty in opening up to my mom because she is very very different from me. And she understands that and encourages me to have other women as mentors. I have had several mentors in the past and right now I have one who I feel I can talk about almost anything with.

            Having a mentor is amazing!

          • I totally agree! My mom is wonderful and I know I can tell her anything but I’m my comfortable doing so. She unders I think and is totally willing to help me get to talk to whomever I need too.

        • I didn’t think you were attacking anything, I just thought maybe you haven’t seen these things played out in real life as much as I have. I agree that relationships with parents are important and should be protected, and I’m so glad you have a good relationship with yours (I do too).

          To clarify, I didn’t mean that mentorship was the only reason God created the church, but I think it’s a big part of it. As for teens leaving, of course there are many factors, such as distractions from the world, etc., but I think if just a couple of godly adults were involved in each kid’s life, it would make a huge difference.

          Anyhow, a difference of opinion is fine, of course, since this isn’t an essential issue. I appreciate your gentleness and willingness to discuss these things peacefully. 🙂

    • TBH, Haven, I think that mentors outside of the family are incredibly critical to a young person’s life. A parent is someone there to love you unconditionally, to teach you, and to discipline you when needed. A mentor is someone there to listen to you, challenge you, and be your friend. Provers 13:3 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise.” Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Paul mentored Timothy before sending him on his way. He took him under his wing and spent days, hours and months with him teaching in the Lord. I think this is a wonderful example of a mentor.

      I have been incredibly blessed with having a couple of ladies mentor me, people who are my friend, my challengers, people who I can talk to when I need to speak to someone other than my parents. There is one in particular who, though I do not see her often, when she is nearby we have breakfast. During this time she asks me how I’m doing spiritually, how I’m doing emotionally, what is going on in my world. And then often she points out things that I don’t see in myself, or prays with me about things that I struggle with. Another is my friend, someone who I speak to all the time, who also encourages me in my passions and challenges me. Both are 30 to forty years older than me. Both are far wiser than I. Both are close friends of my mother.

      I believe very firmly that the Lord has made generations so that those who are younger may learn from those who are older. Grandparents, aunts, old friends, pastors, small group leaders- they are all vitally important in shaping how a young person thinks. Your parents are key influencers, but sometimes you listen better from someone else. Sometimes it is the wisdom of your 20 something small group leader whom you look up to, or your grandfather with all his life experience, or an old friend in your parents who has influenced you in countless ways. Kids look up to teens, are loved by grandparents, and taught by parents. Teens look up to late-20s, early-30s people, and are taught by their parents, those the same age as their parents, and their grandparents. And eventually the cycle turns and you are in a mentoring state, even as you are still being mentored. Its wonderful, investing in other’s lives the same way yours has been invested in.

    • I would like to make a small point that @reganseba:disqus made. It is very important to have mentors outside your family. There are examples of mentors spread throughout the Bible, but one of the most outstanding ones would have to be Paul with Timothy (also somewhat with Titus). My pastor says that we all should have a “Paul” in our life, meaning a mentor.

      Also, small point, I have an amazing relationship with my mom, but I don’t classify her as my best friend. Parents are your authority and shouldn’t be viewed at that level with you. Obviously you can still love them and have an amazing relationship with them, but you should understand that they are your authority. After you are an adult, however, your mom can be your best friend. This is a really small point, however, and I don’t want to start a fight. This isn’t really the issue.

  • Wow, the timing of this question is pretty awesome, because I just had the privilege this morning of meeting with a mentor that I connected with through my church. Haven has a great point when she was talking about a parent being a mentor, but I also would like to say that it is important to seek other (trustworthy) adult mentors as well. I have been blessed with several very strong Christian women invested in my life, and it has made such a difference in my spiritual journey.

    Soooo….the tricky part. HOW do you start that conversation? (I can see how it could be very awkward to just throw it out randomly…) Depending on your relationship with your parent/parents, it might be a good idea to see if they know someone who they would trust, or would be willing to speak to a pastor who would know how to pursue that better. Speaking with your youth pastor might be a good idea as well. That being said….that is not really how it worked out for me. I actually spoke with a a woman from my church who was my room leader during summer camp. I trusted her, and knew that she was not in the right life stage to mentor me, but thought that she might know of someone who would be willing to meet with me. She emailed a pastor who she knew could help, and HE then was able to connect with some women who were interested in mentoring. Here is my point with this: God has prepared someone to invest in you. Pursue, ask people that you trust, speak with your pastor/parents/whomever you trust, and then be willing to wait.

    One final thing. Be open with your mentor about your spiritual life and don’t be afraid of the hard things that she might say. God uses older and wiser believers to speak truth into our lives, and it isn’t always nice to hear. That is why it is so important to choose someone you trust. God bless, CJ!

  • HI C.J.! I would just say something like, “Hey, I really admire how you’re letting God use you, and I’d like to spend more time with you and learn from your life experience. Would you be willing to get together and talk with me sometime?” That’s really all it takes. 🙂

  • Hey! So I said I have no advice and I still don’t 😜 But I noticed some disputations about what discipleship is what what it’s purpose is. With yalls permission I would like to try and clear that up a bit… Maybe.
    The purpose of discipleship is to make more disciples. Kinda obvious, I know. Discipleship is not a stipulation for salvation, rather a tool for sanctification (the process a believer undergoes all of their life here on earth: God making us more like himself). All through scripture we see the necessity of having other believers in you life intimately. Emphases is placed on accountability. (See Ecc 4:9-12, gal 6:2, James 5:16, heb 10:24, gal. 6:1 for all these points) through discipleship, believers act out their positions in the body of Christ. We are the body and bride and discipleship is a way of showing that to the world and of being that for one another. The point of a mentorship is to spur one another on and pour into other believers. Essentially, discipleship is: “growing as followers of Jesus and helping others do the same.” Jesus said he will make us fishers of men. (Mat 4:19) discipleship is fishing. The great commission ( mat 18:19-20) says expressly to make disciples. The teaching part in verse 20 implies a relationship.
    Parents are to disciple their children, but one of the reasons the church was given is to aid parents in that mission. It takes the body.
    So, that is what discipleship is to me. If I missed danything or someone doesn’t agree totally, please let me know! I would love to discuss and maybe we can find the truth together. 😄

  • If you’re in a good church with incredible christian women, the best thing you can do is ask. Just go up to one of them and tell her what you’re looking for, any true christian woman would be delighted to mentor you.

  • This is an awesome question! I can really testify that having a mentor is an amazing thing to have! I actually just met with my mentor yesterday afternoon and came in like…

    “I’m dealing with bla bla bla bla bla bla bla. What do I do?”

    and he’d be like, “Well, just do this…. bla bla bla bla bla.”

    And I left like, *mind = blown*. Such great advice! Especially being the loner I am (haha. I only have one close friend in life), I need that type of mentorship relationship. So, I can really say: it’s such an amazing blessing!

    So anyway, how do you approach someone to become your mentor (once you’ve already decided who it should be)?

    Well, I did it very naturally in a conversation. haha. One of my youth pastors was just talking about getting a good mentor, and I was like, “Okay, how about you?” haha. And then we started meeting regularly, after that.

    But yeah. if it were me, I would just find a place and time that their mind is not preoccupied, and just ask, “Hey, would you be willing to mentor me?”

    And then of course, be ready for either a yes or a no.

    Hope this helps!

  • Yeah! I have been dealing with the same thing.
    whenever I want to have a older person at our church mentor me,
    I always feel too nervous to ask someone to.
    I feel like we should just let it all go to God and have him help us to have the courage to ask!

    • Asking them is the hardest art! But in the long run you will never look back and say that you made a mistake. I remeber asking mine i was shaking so bad but he said he would and i havent been the same since!

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