Mentoring Helps

The Ideal Mentor

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Over the past several years, Mentoring Warriors has led Boot Camps as a way to equip men to mentor from a Kingdom perspective. Men gather weekly for 8 sessions to learn God’s heart for mentoring and gain tools that will equip them for investing in the next generation.

Our primary focus is investing in young adult men ages 18-30. We dub them warriors because as they leave adolescence and launch into early manhood, there are a host of challenges and experiences they face; many of which would benefit from having a mentor.

My late teens and young adult years were essentially solo experiences. I was mentorless.  No one took the time to hear me; to speak to the core issues and questions I was having as a young man. 

  • How do I figure out my relationship with Jesus and not ride the coattails of my parents?
  • How do I figure out my finances when the month is longer than my paycheck?
  • How do I navigate women? My desire for marriage and yet striking out in dating.
  • How do I change my brakes and save some cash?
  • Why do I give into the same sinful habits?
  • What do I do with this gnawing pit in my gut?

This list seems endless.

If statistics are true, it’s highly likely you were never mentored. We live in a very siloed society where investing in the next generation, even in Christian circles, is rare. We’re quick to say we love Jesus and what he can do for us, but to pour ourselves into someone else… well, let’s just say the number one excuse we hear for not mentoring is…

“I’m too busy.”

The bottom line about mentoring is soul care. The willingness and wherewithal to come alongside someone in a Jesus-centered relationship.

So, what are the key qualities of an ideal mentor?

You can take a sigh of relief: perfection is nowhere on the list. 

God has no interest in perfect men to mentor. He is far more interested in taking a teachable man who has been through the school of hard knocks and using him as a mentor to the next generation than in using someone who lives the false narrative of perfection.  

Instead of “Problems? What problems?”

God would much rather hear “Problems?  Let me tell you mine and how God walked with me through them!”

Here’s a simple chart of who God sees as an ideal mentor.

Mentor QualityHow it is SeenWhat about You?
Spiritually awareHe recognizes his need for Jesus and walks with God, not perfectly, but increasingly so.Bottom line, are you saved? Not, do you attend church, but rather is Jesus your life?
Authentic and TransparentHe is willing to voice his flaws and seek help from others.Do you wear false masks as if you have your life figured out or do you welcome and pursue courageous vulnerability with other men?
Character over circumstancesHe sees the deeper value of measuring his manhood by his character and not his circumstances.Is a good week for you no problems or where your character was tested and proven?
LearnerHis desire is for God’s Word; to let it saturate all aspects of his life. What is your intake of God’s Word like? Is it ritualistic or relational?
HumilityHe knows he’s not perfect and is on his manhood journey with Jesus.Do you have a story of walking with God?  John Eldredge talks about being fathered by God. Are you?
GentlenessNot passivity, but a willingness to invest in others with a Spirit-generated fruit of gentlenessDo you see others who struggle and are you willing to gently come alongside to listen and help?
PatienceLife doesn’t necessarily change overnight. It takes time for seeds to germinate and grow. Are you demanding change or are you willing to take the long-term view?
EnduringAlong with patience, he bears with others in love. Are you willing to walk with someone even if they relapse?
PeacekeepingHe comes alongside others, partnering with them as they learn to carry their loadDo you measure success by them launching on their own AND in turn investing in others as you did with them?

Ultimately, an ideal mentor desires to glorify God in how he relates to others. 

I was having a conversation with a 23-year-old young man about mentoring. I asked him if he would like to be the last generation of men in his circles of influence to follow Jesus.

“No way!”  he replied.

Jesus commands us to mentor. Matthew 28:16-20 outlines our need to make disciples. (Mentoring is disciple-making.)  

“But I am too young!” or “I’m too old!”  

There is no minimum or maximum age to start. Jesus was barely 30 when he took 12 younger men (some of whom were in their teens) and invested in them. There are men in my city who are in their 70s, 80s, or even 90s who are mentoring other men. 

I know of a 19-year-old who is being mentored by a 25-year-old. That 19-year-old get’s Jesus’ vision for mentoring and is investing in a group of 12-year-old guys.  He’s committed to walking with them through high school graduation and beyond; that’s another 6-7 years with these boys who will become young men.

So, who is an ideal mentor?

Grab a mirror and ask yourself those questions in the chart above.

Then, reach out to us at Mentoring Warriors. We want to have a conversation.  Some young man would long to be mentored, and you might be the one God would like to use.

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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