Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

5 Important Qualities To Look For In A Mentor

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 Keep in mind that mentoring is a personal and, many times, private affair and everyone’s needs are different. I asked a few people online what they look for in a mentor and they had some great answers. I mixed these with a few of my own thoughts.

1. Imperfection and transparency.

My friend George says, “I want to know my mentor has struggles and I want to be able to see them work through them scripturally, not just talk about it.”

For me there is nothing worse than a person who plays life off like they have found the secret sauce and we must all run to them to get it. I like my mentors a little banged up as well.

2. Natural And Mutual

Choosing a mentor should not be a forced activity. It should be, as one youth pastor shared, “natural, not forced”. If you have to wiggle your way into somebodies world to get mentored, it may not be worth it. It has to be a mutual desire on both parts.

To avoid the awkward, “will you mentor me?” question, simply start showing up, show your eagerness and desire to learn and allow the person you want to mentor you to “find” you. People who want to mentor others are always on the lookout to pour into someone else, show that you are one of those people online and off.

3. Proximity

Mentoring is not limited to distance. Someone can mentor you by Facebook, by text, in person or by Skype. This is a question of proximity. How close do you want/need them to be. As one youth pastor shares

“I  look for both! I think your Senior Pastor should be a mentor, but we should also have someone outside the church so you can vent when you need to and they can speak into your life”

This is great advice. No matter where you work, having a mentor inside the church and outside the church is good advice. Sometimes you can’t share what’s really going on in your life because if may effect your job or people’s perception of you.

4. Freedom 

When we think of a mentor, we may think of a committed pairing where all  input is coming from one person such as the case or Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-son from the Karate Kid or Obi wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.  You should always have the freedom to move in and out of mentoring circles. Stay away from controlling or jealous mentors who think their way is the only way.

5. Accessibility 

Is your mentor accessible? Can you call them? Do they respond back? These are important questions depending on your personality or the type of mentoring you want.

Some people want the one on one in personal contact type of mentoring, and if that’s you, don’t settle; find someone who can meet that need. In the digital and social media age, many are choosing to be mentored without the interpersonal dialogue and choose to watch videos, etc.

Which means, the person that you’ve chosen to mentor you may not even know they are mentoring you, and that’s o.k.. This could be a You Tube preacher or an author who shares what you need. Try connecting with your “mentor” on social media, leave them comments and questions on their You Tube channel or send them an e-mail thanking them for what they’ve already contributed to you life.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of my early digital mentors recently at a conference, Amy Schmittauer when I found her online back in the day, now Amy Landino. I was volunteering so I had some back stage access and I was able to personally thank her for all her videos that helped me get better at creating my own videos.

Here’s some good advice, from Amy herself, on digital mentors.

What qualities do you look for in mentor?

Do you prefer to be mentored in person or online?

Click HERE to go to the next post in this series : Is Your Mentor Calling You To Adventure Time? 

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