Mentoring Helps

Three Ways to Start Mentoring

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Let’s face it, you know mentoring is essential, you just don’t know where to start. Whether you want to be mentored or feel the tug of God to mentor someone, how does one start the process?

Here are three ways to start mentoring. I call them good, better, and best. Healthy mentoring can happen in any of the three models; it’s finding the one that fits your situation.

Matchmaker  (Good)

In this method, there is a process of matching a mentor and the mentee; usually by a third-party.  About twelve years ago, the church we were attending at the time had an opportunity for an adult to sign up to be a prayer warrior for a high school student. Same gender matches. Since our son was fifteen at the time, I signed up to be prayer warrior for two young guys in his high school guys small group. I wrote them letters, introducing myself and making the connection with our son, Justin.  A while later, they both texted me. From there, we’d grab a burger, and do some virtual target shooting at a local sports store. I’d attend their ballgames, and grab a pizza. Eventually, conversations turned to issues they were working through as young men; girls, parents, faith, and purity.

Sign up line

Over a decade later, those two 15-year-olds are now twenty-six, each married and one has three kids. Life has moved on for them and we are still in touch.  Still praying for each other. Still doing the iron sharpens iron mentoring. As one of them got married, he told me he found the first letter I wrote him. The journey we share through mentoring has meant the world to him. 

I don’t recall who at the church thought of the matchmaker idea, but in our case, it worked!  It takes patience, consistency, and a heart willing to listen and engage. Are these two young guys perfect?  Hardly. Do they love Jesus? Yep!  Do they have things to work on?  Don’t we all? Here’s what I know, matchmaking mentoring works, if you work at it.

Mentor Pursuit (Better)

Sometimes, an older guy notices a young man who has potential but is struggling in life. It could be a young man you work with, or you know each other via church. The older guy reaches out to start a conversation with the young man about life. Perhaps the two of you grab a coffee, or attend a sports game. You find out what you have in common, which can open the door for deeper conversations.  Recently, I heard a young man (around mid-twenties) recount to someone else how I came to mentor him. “I knew David mentored other guys, including my younger brother. One day, he asked me if we could hang out and I said ‘heck yeah!’”  Some guys are longing to be asked to be mentored.

Like the Matchmaker approach, the Mentor pursuit takes intention. Mentoring doesn’t just happen. Look around at some younger men who you know. Ask God to give you clarity on who to mentor and then start the process of conversation.

Mentoring by doing life together

Mentee Asks (Best)

This is by far the best way for mentoring to launch. When a young man sees his need for someone older to speak truth into his life, and asks for help, such mentoring relationships often take flight. Sometimes, it takes a crisis to get a young guy off his backside. Caught doing stupid, living a duplicit life. What’s it going to take?

Will you help me?

As a young warrior, you know the men around you who can come alongside you, offering wisdom, hope, and love.  Men who won’t speak sweet nothings into your ear as if you are perfect, but who will kick you because they believe in you.  A mentor who will put his arm around you and in a sense father you through life’s manhood journey.  Oh, how I longed for such when I was a young warrior.  

Fourth Option

You need to pick one. The fourth option (doing nothing) is not on the table.  I’m sorry, cut the excuses. I wasn’t mentored when I was younger. No one invested in me. That is not a strike against me, rather it created such an ache in me to come alongside others, that I have to mentor. In fact, if you are a Christ-follower, Jesus makes it plain in Matthew 28:18-20.  

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Making disciples (mentoring) is not an option for a Jesus follower. The awesome thing about this command is he promises to be with us always. In the end, it’s not you mentoring, but Christ mentoring others through you. 

Which Option?


Mentor Pursuit

Mentee Asks

It’s time!

Warrior On!

If you need help figuring out how to get started in a mentoring relationship, reach out to us at

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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