Mentoring Helps

Leader Up!

Growing up I always figured a leader what the guy up front, on stage, on the TV, leading the charge. In high school, my cousin was the drum major for our marching band. He’d strut onto the field with his tall marching hat and plume.  Not sure how he did it, but he’d strut out at a 45-degree angle. Wow! Did the crowd react to his pomp! The truth of the matter is, between his obviously out there leadership on the football field and our band director’s tenacity, our high school marching band won competitions with a reputation for excellence.

I’ll Never be a Leader

I resigned myself to that mantra from my middle school days on. My grade 9 attempt to run for class treasurer failed miserably. I got more laughs than votes. Humiliating loss. By my senior year of high school, I was close to failing algebra and could barely crawl out of bed some days. “Loser. You imbecile. You good for nothing.” Yep, that was me. Or so I was led to believe.

Mentorless Me

This is not some sob story, but the honest reality that through my teens and all through my 20s, no one took the time to mentor me. No one took the time to speak truth into my life. No one took the time to know me. Back then, mentoring wasn’t talked about much. No one in any church circles I ran in practiced mentoring. That gap in my life put an ache for coming alongside others who were in a similar situation. Call it God-given compassion. 

Mentoring is Leadership

I bring up mentoring because what I’ve come to realize is mentoring is leadership. It’s what a young pastor friend calls the silent warriors; leading one young soul at a time to a greater, deeper walk with God and learning his identity as a man. My years of mentoring young adult guys have taken me through a lot of one on one relationships where I’ve seen guys face a crisis, and turn for help both in Christ and in me. 

No Fanfare-But Real Life Change

Mentoring won’t necessarily get you on stage or a large following, but it will get you deeper into the souls of young men who are desperate to find answers. I’ve always liked Paul’s model of mentoring.  1 Timothy and 2 Timothy are letters to a young man Paul invested in for the Kingdom.

2 Timothy 2:2 ESV says

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Think of it. If you invest in the life of one young man for the Kingdom, and he does the same, as Paul taught Timothy, there will be generations following Christ, long after you and I are dead and forgotten. That, my friend, is real leadership.

It’s Time to Leader Up!

No more excuses. Forget the fact your life is filled with scars. If you have been giving your struggles to the Lord and watching him change you, then you are qualified to mentor. “Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Let me put my arm around you and walk this journey with you.” 

About 12-13 years ago, I saw that there was a need for me to step up and invest in the lives of some high school guys who were on the edge of falling away not only from Jesus but from themselves. There was no fanfare, just quiet coffees and attending their games. Early morning breakfasts and conversations about almost anything guys deal with. What makes a mentor is you have to be safe, trustworthy, and full of unconditional love regardless of what choices the young men make.

I Have Many Sons

The Lord gave me one biological son, but I also have many other sons. I am excited to see where God takes these young men and he makes them into great men!

It’s high time to lead up! Who are you mentoring?

Warrior On!

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.

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