Best way to mentor?

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It seems to me that mentoring is one of the ways that congregations can best disciple each other in these times of disconnection and dislocation.  We have several generations in our churches with several generation gaps.  Yet we long for a sense of belonging, of unity, of engagement with each other.  I have spoken with a few congregations that would like to try this and would benefit greatly from others' experiences.

Posted in: Faith Formation; Q&A

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A couple of years ago, the Youth Group leaders at our church asked willing adults in the congregation to volunteer if they were able to team up with a member of the youth group.  Pairs were matched after which it was up to the individuals to pursue the relationship.  Continuation and "success" has been varied, but it has provided positive communication and fellowship between the generations.  The biggest question seems to be where the impetus and responsibility to start and maintain the relationship should come from:  the mentor or the mentee?  Presently, this is under discussion.  As someone who participates(d) in this program, I must say I was blessed and enriched.

Mentoring provides blessing for both the mentor and the mentee.  In answer to your question about whose responsibility it is to maintain the relationship, many mentoring/coaching resources recommend that the initiative must be with the mentee.  While I agree with this in leadership development, I believe that walking alongside our youth might require a slightly different approach.  

In my opinion, the most natural kind of relationship would involve initiative that comes from both parties.  As a mentor, especially within a church family, we have the opportunity to invest in someone spontaneously and freely.  Particularly in the case of youth mentees, it would be wonderful if the mentor would bless and pour into a life through encouragement, cards, prayer, invitations etc. unsolicited.  I believe a mentor in these situations can be proactive, rather than simply waiting for youth to initiate.  

Imagine how blessed we would be if more of us would just choose to be a mentor to someone else in our church settings.  Perhaps a young mom, or a young family needs to be encouraged in the challenges of parenting, in the absence of extended family that is far away.  Perhaps a young urban professional needs a seasoned, Christian business man to walk along side him, just to offer support and a listening ear.  Or maybe a young teacher in your midst would welcome the support of a mature person or a family home.  

The blessing of mentoring - an opportunity waiting to be embraced!

Love this thread, albeit a short one. Would love to carry on further conversations of how to do this well. We at CCRC are heading towards what looks like a frutiful path of multigenerational Community Care Groups and as a part of that we are asking ourselves discipleship questions.... For the most part, we have developed a hearty excitement for what is around the corner and all our generations are speaking about how they can see benefits in this kind of approach. If anyone has resources or ideas, pass them on. Let's get concrete! 

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