Mentoring Helps

Mentor Madness- Getting a Pulse on Your Warrior’s Life

Making a Connection

Mitch was in college at a local university. New to town, he decided he ought to find a church. Walking into one near campus, he saw numerous students he recognized, many huddled in various groups standing in the foyer. The roar of conversations was electric! An older man reached out his hand to Mitch, “Glad to have you! I’m Jeff.” What Mitch didn’t know was Jeff was actively involved in mentoring several college-aged young men. “Would you like to join us in the worship center?”  Mitch was alone and being new to both the church and campus, he had few social ties, so he accepted Jeff’s offer.

Free Food!

After the service, Jeff and his wife Sally, invited Mitch and a few other college guys for lunch. What college student would pass up free food?!  “Mitch, we have a small group of guys that meet once a week for breakfast. We’d love to see you join us.”  “Does it come with free food?” Mitch asked as a joke. “Actually, it does! My wife usually works up a great breakfast for the guys. We study the Bible and spend time praying for things everyone is facing.”  Thursday morning came and though it was hard for Mitch to crawl out of bed, he made it to Jeff and Sally’s house. The breakfast was great and meeting some other guys who want to grow in their faith was exactly what Mitch was looking for. He discovered that one guy at the study lived on his dorm floor. “Mitch” Jeff asked, as the guys were leaving for class and work, “Would you have any interest in grabbing coffee sometime?”  With a grin, Mitch accepted Jeff’s offer.

Unpeeling the Layers in a Safe Place

Mitch came from a decent home. His family life wasn’t perfect, but he managed to graduate high school and get accepted into college. On the quieter side, Mitch was on the periphery in social settings. He had a few buddies in high school, but no one older had ever taken much interest in him. In fact, heading off to college caused Mitch more than his fair share of anxiety, although he never told anyone. Facing insecurities over what his future held, Mitch decided he’d need to be sure to keep his attention focused on school and manage the best he could. Getting to know Jeff was, frankly, a breath of fresh air. “Why does he want to know me?” Mitch kept asking himself. Jeff and Mitch met several more times and as they did, Mitch’s guard lowered every time. He felt comfortable and accepted around Jeff. Jeff has this amazing knack of asking good questions. Questions that seems to unpeel layers of Mitch’s life in a way that helped Mitch pleasantly see he had more depth to his own manhood than even he realized. Jeff introduced him to the Mentoring Warriors website, where Mitch took the online self-assessment. That sparked a host of healthy conversations regarding areas of Mitch’s life that needed focused attention.

Topics on the Table

The two discussed a host of life issues such as self-management. Mitch was a bit of a messy and it was a point of conflict with his roommate.  Although, Mitch knew he wanted to major in some sort of engineering, he struggled to find exactly what he wanted to do. Talking with Jeff brought clarity. Mitch grew up knowing how to fix computers and was able to use his skills to help Jeff with his laptop a few times. Talks about faith and how Jeff challenged Mitch to come to grips with what he believed led to numerous studies in the Bible. The more Mitch realized the importance of a life yielded to Christ, the more confidence he had in his faith journey. His identity as a man was coming into clearer view. Jeff was by no means a perfect man, but Mitch saw qualities in him he wanted to emulate. As the semester went on, Mitch got involved in a local campus ministry where for the first time he started to meet some quality women. Jeff became a safe and wise resource for how to honor and treat these gals with respect.

Paying It Forward

Spring semester rolled around and Mitch and Jeff seemed to naturally flow into a mentoring relationship. “Jeff, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve grown so much in such a little amount of time. Thank you for getting to know me. For letting me cry on your shoulder and tell you things I didn’t even know were inside me. I feel much more like a man now than when I first came to college.  Jeff, I know you are not perfect. I see some things in your life that even you are working through as a man who wants to know God more. Your investment in me has helped me come out of my introverted shell and want to actually find someone I can help, just like you are helping me.” With humlity, Jeff thanked Mitch for his kind words.  “Mitch, there is nothing more that would make me happier than to see you start to invest in other guys.”  For the next three years of college, until Mitch graduated, Jeff and he met consistently. In some respects, Jeff filled a father-role for Mitch that his own dad, hundreds of miles away could not. In fact, meeting with Jeff helped Mitch figure out ways he could improve his relationship with his dad.

Four Ways to Get a Pulse on Your Warrior’s Life

  1. Offer a handshake. Take initiative to get to know your warriors. Find ways to meet them, Like Jeff, he looked for new students to meet via church. His church knew Jeff was a quality guy and supported his efforts to reach out to young warriors. Jeff and his wife offered hospitality.
  2. Listen well. Jeff realized that as he personally learned to yield to the Holy Spirit, he would be more aware of what’s going on in a young man’s life. By listening well, which  includes asking quality questions, Jeff became a safe place for young men to open up and trust.
  3. Use the Mentoring Warriors Self-Assessment.  Jeff knew that the Mentoring Warriors online Self-Assessment was a good tool to help guys like Mitch get a pulse on where they might need some focused mentoring.
  4. Be Consistent. It took time for Jeff and Mitch to build a relationship. Jeff was transparent about his own life and struggles and in doing so Mitch realized he wasn’t another project.  Jeff genuinely was interested in Mitch’s life. Mitch saw in Jeff’s consistent interest that this was a man who valued depth of relationships.

Mentoring is more about living out the life of Jesus through you than anything else. Beyond skills, godly advice and practical helps, what the young man you mentor wants more than anything else is to know that in Christ, he has what it takes to become a man far beyond his current condition. As his mentor, you are not called to change him, but to lead him. The great thing is you mature right along with him as you live out Galatians 6:1-2.

Warrior On!

David Riffel

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

Comments are closed.