One of the greatest needs I’ve seen in my 2 decades of ministry is the need for mentorship. Men are looking for other men to come alongside them and provide friendship, encouragement, modeling and spiritual development. Mentoring is something that can help men develop into Godly men and make a Godly impact. This is something that many men desire to have in their lives but of the men I talk to would say that they do not have a mentor.
One of the reasons for this is some of the formality that we’ve laid on mentorship. We’ve started programs to help facilitate mentorship but this often falls short because of the nature of our busy lives and the reality of waiving intention that exists in all of us. What starts out as a good idea, ends up being something that fizzles out.
Mentoring should never be forced. It should come about organically but then grow with intention. Here are 5 ways to ensure mentoring is happening in your ministry.
No One Serves Alone.
This is a simple way to create natural connections with guys. Pair up for ministry. Don’t have guys serving by themselves, always have them serving together.
Foster Spiritual Conversations.
Train and model for your men to have spiritual conversations with each other. A simple “how is it going really?” or “how can I pray for you this week?” creates opportunity for men to go beyond the surface into deeper parts of their lives. If that’s happening all the time, men are more likely to open up to others in the group because it feels like a safe place to do so.
Call Out Older Men.
Older men need to be called to intentionally mentor younger guys. The biggest barrier to this? Intimidation. Older men don’t feel like they have much to offer but the truth is they do. The older guys in your group can be encouraged to text, go for coffee or go help on a project, the younger guys in the church. This is a good start to mentoring.
Needs Based Mentoring.
Often, we have a curriculum we’re trying to shove down peoples throats and call it mentoring or discipleship. The best way to mentor is by asking someone, “what is your biggest challenge right now?” Whatever the answer is, is where you start mentoring. Personal reflection is where most development starts. How can you solve a problem if you don’t know what it is?
First Steps, Next Steps.
Discipleship is a journey of steps. There are always first steps and then next steps. Train and encourage the men in your group to help people identify:
- The First Step. “What do I need to do right now?”
- The Next Steps. “What do I need to do ongoing?”
Once they’ve identified this, the mentors’ role becomes checking in. Mentoring is not telling someone what to do but guiding them along the path they feel led.
If all 5 of these things are happening in your men’s ministry, I can guarantee that men are being mentored. It’s not a program, it’s a culture.