How to find a mentor for yourself
Where have all the mentors gone? It saddened me to hear that Kyle Reed asked a dozen people to be his mentor, and to be turned down and rejected. What’s up with that?
Watch this interview to hear what Kyle wants to do to change this situation:
Kyle (on twitter @kylelreed) may very well be right, if a young person can’t find a mentor in their church for the Kingdom of God, they’ll find one elsewhere outside the church. So, add your comment below and get this conversation going!
Thanks for making us more aware of this. I am willing to mentor others as I have done many times in the past. I am in STL area and if there is someone interested in mentoring, I would be glad to see if we would be a match.
Thanks for offering that up. Would love to chat with you about this.
You hit on something big! The absence of mentoring is also the reason the people in our pews are not growing up as followers of Christ. John Medina,a brain scientist at University of Washington, once said in a public lecture that all human learning is relational. The lack of relationships, I mean real relationships, explains why our people are stunted in their growth & learning (character-building).
But some Christian leaders are getting this. Yesterday I met a Young Life staff worker (she’s pretty young herself)at the gym. She is very intent on linking mentors with their high school leaders.
Theresa Ip Froehlich
Certified Life Coach
Good morning, brother! My name is Nathanael Flock, and I live in the greater Atlanta area. I stumbled upon your website in a random website bunny trail. I was looking for a quote from AW Tozer but found another blog that linked me to you. I guess this time my tendency to be easily distracted was a good thing!
I saw your video with Kyle Reed, and I know this issue fairly well. I am 26 years old, and came to know Jesus at 20. I desperately wanted a father, mentor, one to disciple me, etc for a while. About 7 months after I was saved, the Lord planted me in a House of Prayer (www.ihop-atlanta.com and http://www.ihop.org). It was just getting started, and was mostly teens and 20-somethings who were sexually frustrated and looking for a lot of what I was: acceptance, a community that was like-minded, accountability to drive me into wild abandonment for Jesus, etc… Well, there was much of that, but there was not many who could disciple or mentor. I was offended at certain points in my life about the lack of fathers, or just men, who would offer me some sage-wisdom; or at least some experiential understanding. But in the place of wrestling with God about this issue (“where are the men???”), I found that God really wanted to father me by His Spirit. It took discipline to fellowship with Him in any way possible: in His Word, in quiet solitude, in open discussion with other believers, or even walking under the stars. I found His Spirit was faithful and more than enough to meet my needs.
This does not excuse the lack of self-less men, however. I just believe God is doing something really unique in this generation. I don’t know your eschatological stance, but Malachi 4 has a really awesome promise/prophecy concerning, I believe, this generation. “Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Mal 4:5, 6)
Now, I don’t necessarily feel I need to go into a theological break-down (we can later if you want), but it’s the same spirit that rested on John the Baptist that drove him to disciple, warn, instruct, and prophesy, that I pray would touch this generation. It’s a curse on the land when men don’t step up to be fathers, or even older brothers, and when young men reject the counsel of the older generation. It is that generational separation that creates enmity in every nook and cranny of society.
I don’t think most men these days feel adequately equipped to mentor because they weren’t mentored. And if there is the rare chance that they were (it is really rare), I don’t know if it resolved insecurity and identity issues to the point where there are comfortable enough in their masculinity to affirm and help lead another into his own. I honestly think that self-hatred is lurking in the depths of most men in this generation, and if they can’t love themselves, then they can’t love others.
We need a move of God that revives us (men and women) in the knowledge of God, where we gaze on true beauty in Christ Jesus and take on that everlasting love. Only the Spirit can bring us into a freedom that crushes the zeitgeist.
I would still love to have a man to help me in many respects of life as a Christian – but as I surrendered that desire to God’s timing for me, He has sent some along my path that have helped me in opportune seasons. I sought God and His kingdom first, and He met my needs. (Ps 37:4, 5 / Luke 6:33)
I do think this is an issue that needs awareness, and I’m glad you and Kyle are opening the discussion now. It comes to the unfortunate truth that we live in a mostly fatherless generation, but we have an awesome promise:
4 Sing to God! Sing praises to His name.
Exalt Him who rides on the clouds —
His name is Yahweh — and rejoice before Him.
5 A father of the fatherless
and a champion of widows
is God in His holy dwelling.
6 God provides homes for those who are deserted. (NKJV says “God sets the solitary in families”)
He leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a scorched land.
I will pray this morning that the Lord would use Kyle and others to awaken this generation to this, well, let’s call it what it is: injustice. Not to condemn the one’s who rejected him, or who rejected the many other young men who want a mentor – but for our freedom’s sake, it’s best to call things what they are. May the Lord enlighten our eyes with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him!!
Bless you brother!
Nathanael, glad to hear from you and get your perspective.
Good stuff you got here.
I totally agree that one of the main reasons for the lack of mentoring is because there was no mentoring for them.
I want to change that, and make it a common thing.
Much like in the old days when you had apprentices etc…I would love to see that inside of mentoring.
I appreciate your heart and what you had to say and am looking forward to partnering with you and others in being mentored as well as mentoring others.
Playing devil’s advocate.
But isn’t the problem with “mentoring” language first that it’s programmatic, second that we tend to pursue rockstars, third it is w/ self-serving motivation. Sometimes I think we don’t pursue mentors, true mentors pursue us.
Or maybe it’s a bit of both.
Wayne, I love to play devil’s advocate myself so I am glad you are.
I think you are right, there needs to be a redefinition of what mentoring is and what it is not. I think for a long time mentoring has been surrounded with a cloud of fear and this idea that you have to be an expert to be a mentor. What most do not realize is that we are all mentoring someone whether we like it or not.
Second, you are dead on with the fact that we continue to pursue rockstars. I have done a lot of conversating and thinking about this myself. I think the main reason for this is because of the shallow mentoring that has been taking place. Meaning, people are looking for mentors and they are not finding them, in turn we (they) turn to blogs, authors, etc…and start to be mentored by people they do not even know. The problem with all of this is because the rockstar mentor cannot mentor everyone. Especially if they do not even know who you are.
Third, I think self-serving can be a motivation, but at times I do not see anything wrong with that. If you are looking to learn, grow, and be stretched so that you can do more things with what God has given you and the gifts that you have, why not go after a mentor so that you can continue on.
I think you have a good point there, true mentors pursue us, and in a perfect world this would happen. I thin the main problem here is that this is not happening. Mentors are not seeking people out to mentor and when I or others seek to be mentored we are turned away and told that they do not have time nor do they want to be our mentor.
I love this convo, lets keep chatting
concerning that last paragraph: that was my experience to a “t”. I made a big move cross country to follow someone highly influential but after several years hurt me very deeply, and publicly. To my credit, he had a track record of doing this and leaving a trail of blood wherever he went so I don’t think it was anything I did. But it’s amazing esp in Korean culture how this stuff gets brushed under the rug and celebrity is quickly up-played. At any rate, he was a toxic mentor.
But the person who mentored me the most profoundly before this episode was a woman (who I gave the most grief due to my sexist views). She persisted with me for a long time and spiritually birthed me. I have never had a mentor like her since… that was over 10 yrs ago.
Very interesting Wayne.
It is interesting to see how mentors usually come from the places we least expect it.
Honestly I see what you are talking about a lot.
Perhaps the motivation of some are self-serving, but I believe that to be the minority. It is probably more selfishness, which is totally different. Self-serving is pride and idolatry fed by unhealthy relationships. Selfishness is brought on by continual self-awareness from unresolved heart issues. I don’t think there is anything wrong with seasons of selfishness – it is part of growth. We have to wrestle with God before we can step into His promises. Maturity doesn’t happen overnight, and it definitely doesn’t happen by ignoring wounds and insecurities that lurk in the heart. Those seasons of introspection are anything but “self-less”!
Kyle, this will definitely be something we take in prayer, and sow in tears, because it will take a move of God to fill this void in our generation. Prayer is how His government is released on the earth – and I think it is beneficial in a time when there is great lack of something important to remember He wants it released on the earth more than we do! That truth has to resonate in us or we will grow weary in prayer and in walking it out.
hey kyle and dj. this is an interesting conversation. i think the core issue is really located in the dysfunction of the family. its suggested that the origin of mentoring came from ancient greece when a certain general was headed off to war and he was looking for someone to guide his son into manhood. that someone’s name was “mentor”. the point being that “mentoring” and learning about life comes from our spiritual communities rightly understood as healthy families join together.
isn’t the real problem (and the opportunity) to discover what community should look like in the local church? a living out of Deut 6? (the current discussion around “thinking orange” from reggie joiner -dj you should really like that!) http://www.theorangeconference.com/speakers.php.
currently i’m mentoring via social media and the phone an incredible 2nd year youth pastor. our weekly meetups has developed into a rich and encouraging friendship. but it can’t replace the context of the conversation i had on wed with one of my student leaders as we sat face to face in our youth space talking about the weight of living the Christian life.
i’m grateful for your heart and passion on this kyle. donald milller is pushing hard on this too. we may have lost the argument cultural, but any restoration has to start in the family where together we join in community in a local church to do life and mission.
just some ramblings…
I think leaders are so busy paddling to stay above water (keep their place or popularity) they do not have time to give swimming lessons. I am 41 and have searched for mentors all my life. May of the men I asked either did not know how to pass on what they knew or wanted to turn me into someone I did not want to be i.e. them. I wanted my gifts and talents used for the glory of God not the glory of them.
I have been in ministry over 20 years focusing mainly on youth and have done my best to mentor other young ministers. Let me know what I can do Kyle or DJ
Paul you are right, leadership seams to be sometimes a upstream battle.
But I think that it is still a necessary thing to do and to let others see that battle as well assist, support, and be apart of.
check out http://mentormeproject.com to get some more info
Thanks for sharing this DJ. I think mentoring is so important too. I am currently a part of a mentoring team and encourage others to mentor. I also try to incorporate this theme quite a bit into my blog, which is why I originally titled it “Life on Life.”
Great to see someone like Kyle helping sound the alarm over this need.
BTW, thanks for turning me on to Wetoku. What a great tool.
I just quickly perused some of these comments and have not been able to watch the interview, but I wanted to add some two cents in. I met a man at First Bapt. Euless who is attempting to write a book on discipleship for the church using principles from Campus Crusade. They have a mentoring ministry, where I believe he trains couples to mentor other couples.
If churches return to true discipleship and not just doing lessons in a book but showing people how to be like Christ. The problem is that in these relationships, the catch word is accountability. You really have to be accountable, as you mentor someone let’s say on doing a Quiet Time, -ARe you doing a quiet time yourself?
I think that lack of accountability or rather one does not want to be accountable accounts for a lack of mentoring.
Back in the day when Vox Veniae was Liquid, they asked for professional mentors. I was a public school teacher and I guess there wasn’t a young man in education for me to mentor.
Incidentally Southwestern Bapt. Theol. Sem (where I am attending) is planning to have the first Chair of Discipleship. The MDiv program has been retooled and added to the curriculum is a semester on Mentoring and one semester on one on one discipling. (taking out-field experience) but these courses and other practicums has the student seeking field experience in these other venues.
I am delighted to see this conversation continuing. In my own experience as a brand new believer many years ago, I was the one who sought out a mentor. Having grown up in Hong Kong, I longed to have intergenerational relationships. This is true of most international students studying in the USA.
To be very straightforward, the church in N Am has worked with the “segregationist” paradigm (along ethnic/racial lines and age departments)for so long that the Christ-followers here don’t seem to know how to intersect intergenerationally and interculturally (at least not very well). Additionally, this is such a radically individualistic culture that for us to even talk about or desire mentoring is very counter-cultural.
While mentor, guide, coach… have some overlap, in the realm of discipleship we are really talking about a discipler-disciple relationship. This could be, but doesn’t have to be, an intentional relationship. In the context of discipleship, a mentor is a spiritual companion who has been farther along the road. This person doesn’t have to have more education or qualification but needs to have a deeper knowledge of the LORD Jesus Christ. I became a follower of Christ after I finished grad sch and the mentor who has been most influential in my Christian walk never completed his college education.
I have just recently begun mentoring two Young Life student leaders in their teen years. Our church is moving out of the departmental and programmatic approach to ministry and moving into a “small group communities” structure. I am delighted for these two opportunities to mentor others. When I meet with the student leaders, I also pull out my professional life coaching toolbox.
Nathanael Flock: Could you please email me at [email protected] – I saw your story on 700 Club. I would like to chat with you.