Jump Start Your Mentoring Conversation

questions to jump startyour mentoring conversation

Today, we continue our three-part series on investing in others. You may have heard of this type of investment referred to as discipleship or mentoring. All three terms point to the same idea. What’s most important is that we are making an intentional effort to sow into someone else’s life for the purpose of helping them mature in Christ.

As I read through your comments last week, “being present” was a common theme. Many of you agreed with the importance of being present. However, out of all the P’s we discussed, being present, can also be the most intimidating. I’ve heard it said before, “what if they ask a question I can’t answer.” If that happens, I believe there is great value in showing that you don’t know. As mentors we are called to be real rather than perfect, and our mentees will appreciate our honesty.

When asked a question that I haven’t known the answer to the past, I’ve said something similar to, “I don’t know, but let’s find the answer together.” Or, “I’m not sure, but I will find out and let you.”  Every time I’ve responded like this, I’ve been met with a sense of respect rather than disappointment.

Being present is the ground where the fruit of our investment will grow. As you and I spend time with our mentees, here are five questions to jump start our conversations:

  1. How are you?
  2. What has been the high/low of your day?
  3. What is your story?
  4. How is God working in your life right now?
  5. How can I pray for you?

As you and I pay attention to the life of our mentees we will be able to ask more thoughtful questions. Our time in conversation will enable them to see how much we value their life; accountability will grow, and best of all, we will both mature in our walk with God.  Yes, this journey may be a little time-consuming and perhaps intimidating, but I assure you it is well worth it for the sake of our future generation and God’s Kingdom!

After all, Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Let’s do this, friends!!

May I pray for you? If you’re in a mentoring relationship or you would like to become more involved in mentoring leave a comment below, and I’ll add you to my prayer list. Have a blessed weekend, friends!

Linking this post up with the beautiful community of writers at Grace & Truth.

5 P’s of Biblical Mentoring

 

 

Investing in another believer means helping them reach their full potential in Christ while providing wisdom and instruction for them to grow as a disciple.

A season of challenging experiences had brought me to my knees. At the speaker’s invitation I went forward and bowed my head in prayer. In a matter of seconds, I felt the embrace of a single arm around my back. Tears crept down my face. I leaned into the Lord and remained still. When her praying ceased, I lifted my head and found a former student.  Just eight years before, her tiny body had filled a seat in my classroom where I had poured into her soul; now she was pouring back into mine. Standing to my feet, I embraced her with a hug and heard God speak gently to my heart, “the investment has come full-circle.”

Investing in another believer means helping them reach their full potential in Christ while providing wisdom and instruction for them to grow as a disciple.

My former student had found her place in God’s kingdom as an intercessor for others. This wasn’t a surprise to me, but what I hadn’t foresaw was the day she would invest in me.

God’s Word tells of multiple women and men whose intentional investment led to another believer achieving their full potential for God.

Naomi invested in Ruth following the death of their husbands.

Moses mentored Joshua before he rose to leader over Israel.

Paul poured into Timothy, often referring to Timothy as his son.

These examples remind us of our discussion last week when we talked about God’s command for older women to train younger women. (Titus 2:3-5)

As you and I step out to invest in others here are five ways we can make our time more meaningful and focused on God.

  1. Pray – Prayer is the key that unlocks all potential in your mentee and in your mentoring relationship. James 5:18 says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV)
  2. Be Present – We can give our mentee encouragement through a text or a comment on Facebook, but what will always mean the most is our presence. Physical presence is matchless.
  3. Proclaim God’s Faithfulness – Psalm 71:18 says, “…let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” God has done great things for each of us. Being a mentor provides the opportunity to tell someone else about His mighty acts.
  4. Plant God’s Word – God’s Word changes lives. It breaks strongholds and it’s filled with wisdom and instruction. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
  5. Permit your mentee to be open and honest with you, and always foster a safe environment with mutual respect and trust.

Perhaps you agree with the concept of investing in another person (or mentoring), but you feel uneasy when you think about yourself doing it. May I be honest with you? I feel the same way. But here’s what I know: uneasy does not equal unqualified. Uneasy just means we must lean into God a little more and trust He will lead our paths as we make ourselves available.

Next week we will take a look at five conversation starters mentors can use to engage in meaningful conversation with their mentees.

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Your Investment Matters

Intentional Invest

Growing up there was nothing sweeter than standing on a chair beside my granny while she prepared an apple pie. Granny would roll out the crust, place it perfectly inside the pie plate, and then stack it full of fresh sliced apples. Finally, she would crisscross strips of dough on the top, brush them with egg and add a sprinkle of sugar.

Granny taught me many lessons. From making apple pies to canning vegetables; she made sure I was well-equipped for the kitchen before I became too tall to stand on her chair. When I started cooking on my own, I would often call Granny for advice. She was always willing to help and her insight added that extra special touch to my recipes.

In the book of Titus, Paul is giving instructions to various groups of believers on how to live so that their lives will correspond with scripture. He speaks first to the elders and older men, then he transitions to the older and younger women.

                Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” – Titus 2:3-5(emphasis mine)

God intended for younger and older women to share life together. His plan included older women teaching younger women how to invest in their families and His kingdom.

Recently, I saw this command come to life when I took part in an inaugural women’s camp filled with 186 women, ages 18 to 95. The camp was the result of four courageous college girls with a vision for God’s girls coming together to worship, learn and fellowship with one another under one roof.

As I spent time at camp I was reminded of a beautiful story in God’s Word about a younger and older woman who went on a cross-country journey together.

We find their story in the book of Ruth.

When the story opens, we’re introduced to Naomi, the older woman, standing with her two daughter-in-laws in a foreign land called Moab. She has lost her husband and two sons. Destitute and stricken with grief, she decides to return to her homeland in Bethlehem. She takes her daughter-in-laws with her. Not long into the journey she looks at both girls and encourages them to return to their own homeland. Certainly, Naomi loved the girls and thought returning to their own land instead of hers would afford them more happiness and better provisions.

One of the daughters, Orpah, made the decision to return home. Ruth, however, chose to stay with Naomi. Her decision was life-changing. By choosing to follow Naomi, Ruth opened herself up to being trained by her mother-in-law, which led to her marrying Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer. Ultimately, by the end of Ruth’s story she becomes part of the lineage of Jesus Christ.

One of the blessings I received from camp was the time I had to spend with women who have gone before me as a wife, momma and teacher. These women bear incredible value to me. In many ways, they’ve walked in my shoes. They’ve experienced heartache, tragedy and real life struggles; yet God’s grace shines beautifully through their lives. As I sat with each one, we shared our life stories and I gleaned valuable wisdom and encouragement. No doubt, God ordained conversations with these women that I will carry with me for the rest of my days.

As the camp came to an end, God began speaking to me about intentionally investing in someone younger than me. I confess, I’ve let the ball down in this area, but the reality is there are women all around us who are hungry for friendships. Women, like you and I, in need of encouragement and advice. Women of all ages who often need nothing more than a listening ear.  And so, I ask you as God did me:

Friends, our choice to invest not only matters, but it’s also a step of obedience towards living out God’s plan for older and younger women.

Next week, we will look at five ways to invest in someone. If you want a reminder about next week’s post, I’d love for you to join our community at the top left side of this page. All you need to do is enter your email address and you’ll be on your way to receiving future Raising An Arrow posts in your inbox. (Mobile readers will need to scroll down the screen.) Have a blessed week and I’ll see you soon!

When Motherhood is Challenging

SAHM

Before we said, “I do,” my husband and I made a decision to wait five years before we started adding a lad or two to our family. We joked and called it our “Five Year Plan,” but when five years had passed, we still weren’t ready, and so five years became ten.

During those ten years we came and went as we wanted, established routines and slept! I laugh and say slept, because it was nothing for me to come home from a day of teaching, sleep three hours, wake up, eat and go back to sleep.

Then we had our first child and life changed. The changes weren’t negative; they just weren’t anything we were anticipating. No longer could we jump in the car and run down the road or kick up in the evening with a cup of coffee and a book. And sleep? What was that? I’m still trying to figure out if we slept the first year of our sweet boy’s life. Through every change though, we fell in love with our little boy, established new routines and laughed at our parenting mishaps along the way.

Then our son turned three and life changed again. I left teaching and became a stay-at-home mom. I expected to transition into my new “job” with ease and elation, but I didn’t. Quickly, I began longing for connection with others. When I taught I would crave a day at home, now I was rarely leaving home. As a teacher I was used to seeing achievement of the goals I had set, now the only thing I seemed to be achieving was changing from pajamas to clothes by day’s end. While I knew choosing to stay home was an investment in my son’s life, an overwhelming sense of purposeless consumed me.

In a world where we are called to make a difference, being a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t always feel world-changing; in fact, it can feel confining.

My new role as a stay-at-home mom allowed me to be more involved in our son’s teaching, disciplining and training, but it also made me wonder if I was doing enough for him. I began placing unreasonable expectations on myself and questioned every decision I made. Should I have set him in timeout? Did I raise my voice too much? Am I doing enough craft projects? Am I taking away his independence? Endless self-questioning began zapping the joy out of being a mom. Nightly, I would fall into bed feeling like a failure.

Days of questioning led me to a place of pouring my heart out before God. I reassured Him I wanted to be home with my baby, but I also told Him how I felt like my purpose had been lost. I told him I felt inadequate at being a stay-at-home mom. Shortly, after our conversation He placed this Scripture in front of me and my heart rejoiced.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV

The words, “Let us not become weary” fell like fresh oil on my soul. God knew what I had yet to discover. He had called me to stay at home, but I was making myself weary with questions and self-induced pressure. His Word was the agent that transformed my thoughts. Before I knew it, the pressure lifted and staying at home became a part of my purpose and joy. My son and I began attending play dates with friends and story time at our local library. Together we pressed through the hard times and discovered joy in the midst of our daily routine.

If an area of parenting has you discouraged, may I encourage you to join me in remembering Galatians 6:9? Let’s choose joy over weariness and trust God to take our efforts and use them to develop our children and impact the world. We may not see it today, but through our love and discipline our children are becoming world-changers one day at a time.

Mommas, let’s not give up! Together we are making a difference!