How to find a spiritual mentor

Having a spiritual mentor is an effective and important way to grow spiritually. One-on-one coaching relationships provide effective accountability, custom-tailored teaching, and safe places to discuss the most difficult issues.

I don’t know where I would be without the many men and women that have been spiritual mentors to me over the years. My dad has the been the most important of these for me, but I have also had teachers, pastors, supervisors, and peers invest in my life in these ways. Not all of these were organic relationships; I had to make an effort to find and develop them! You’ll have to be intentional about this if you really want to find a spiritual mentor.
Here is a 5 step plan to help you find your own spiritual mentor. (more…)

Intentionally Pursuing Discipleship Through Mentoring Relationships

Seeking wisdom from other members of the Body seems to be no easy affair in today’s church culture, regardless of denominational affiliation. Obviously, we can seek wisdom by asking questions of those we respect when in need, but I’d like to think that as Christians we can do better than this kind of consumeristic, reactionary grab for discernment. I want to aquire real wisdom, which I believe must take time and consistent effort. Mentoring relationship are avenues for developing relationships and connections, imparting tradition and knowledge, and supporting one another in trial of all kinds. A few things that come to mind as I ponder my own difficulty in finding these kind of relationships: 

1) I’ve had a lot more success when I approach this issue with humility, making a decision to understand that people like my priest, grandparents, and deacons not only know the Bible better than I do in some regards, but they’ve also generally had a lot more time to apply these principles and truths. As much I might like to think my angst is unique, chances are they might know something about whatever it is I’m going through.

2) We’ve got to carve out time to make this stuff happen. There are a few guys at my church that have been such sources of encouragement to me and have been great sources of wisdom as I’ve taken this difficult route of taking my family to a new denomination. Although we are not in a formal mentoring relationship, I’ve never regretting sacrificing a few chores around the house or my Facebook time to spend time with them in formal and informal settings. Taking the time on my lunch break at work to meet somebody for a bite, etc, can be difficult, but worth it in the long run for developing relationships and by God’s grace obtaining some wisdom in the process.

3) Mentoring relationships don’t usually happen by accident. I would say I have had a small number that have happened organically (my relationship with my own father, and one particularly influential high school teacher) however I think in general we have to pursue these things with a high degree of intentionality. 

4) All of this is easier said than done 🙂 I know I don’t like to ask help, my schedule is pretty much packed out, and I feel a little weird going up somebody I don’t know too well (and as a new Phoenician, I don’t know anybody that well) and saying, “Hey, wanna be my mentor?” 😉

Have you ever been intentionally discipled in Christ? If so, how did you make that happen? If not, what’s gotten in the way, and how can help each other get out of this state of formational impoverishment?

5 powerful ways to keep growing when you can’t find a spiritual mentor

I’ve written about how to find a spiritual mentor, but one thing is for sure: it’s not an instant process. It can sometimes take a while to find the right person–or for the right person to find you. If you’ve not yet found a spiritual mentor, take heart! Don’t forget these five ways to continue to grow as you pray and think about who might be a good mentor. (more…)

How to have a life-changing mentoring conversation

I’ve spent the last three or so years mentoring college-age men in both one-on-one and group settings. One of my initial challenges was figuring out what I should be talking about so I could effectively lead the conversation and make the most of our time together. It doesn’t help that the goals of many mentoring relationships are somewhat vague (learn from the mentor’s mistakes, become a better Christian, etc.)

After my first year as a formal mentor, four essential conversation categories emerged for me. These make up a focused, productive, and ultimately life-changing mentoring conversation. Each of your mentoring sessions should generally include all of these elements (though not always in identical proportions). (more…)