Coffee Anyone?

Julie Maibach Profile
Article by Julie Maibach
LARC Coordinator

So you go out with your new friend, and over coffee, you discuss the terms of your friendship—how often you’ll meet, what sort of activities you’ll do, and when your friendship will end. You discuss how you’ll know if it’s a successful friendship and the ways to achieve that.

What?

You don’t start a friendship like this?

Of course not. Me either!

Everyone knows that friendship happens naturally. It develops as people spend time together and get to know one another. No one puts an end date on their friendship or measures it for success.

Then shouldn’t it be the same with mentoring?

Unfortunately, many people are unclear about what it means to be a mentor. They think it means they have to set all kinds of guidelines, be the perfect role model, and have all the answers. They worry about whether they’ll be “successful.” They think they are ultimately responsible for the development, improvement, or even the salvation of another person.

Mentoring is none of those things.

Mentoring should be natural and fun—whether it’s a formal relationship where two people are matched or an informal one that develops organically.

So then what really is expected of a mentor?

A mentor needs to show up. Just consistently show up. This might seem obvious and easy if a relationship blossoms quickly, but if it builds slowly, it is important to be consistent over time. You may feel like you aren’t making a difference at all or that the relationship is going nowhere. Be patient and keep your commitment. Showing up builds trust. Showing up says “I care,” and “You’re worth it.”

When you’re with your mentee, live out your faith in word and deed, just like you normally do. Treat your mentee with respect and confidentiality. Be present—give your focused attention. (Hmm, maybe that means putting your phone on do not disturb.) Be honest. Don’t be fake. Be willing to say “I don’t know” if you don’t. Model what God says and does for us, “I’m here for you.” “You matter to me.”

A mentee may ask you to speak in to their life right away or it may take time to earn that right. If it takes time, be patient. Whenever you do share your thoughts and insights, speak with humility and respect, remembering that you have not walked in their shoes. Give continual assurance of your love and care, no matter what. It doesn’t mean approval of every idea or decision but it means you will always care for them. Remember it is only by God’s grace and the power of His Spirit that we can speak with wisdom.

So there you have it. Anyone who is willing to show up consistently, live out their faith, and speak words of kindness and encouragement can be a mentor.

So now when you hear the word, “mentor,” think trusted ally, champion, encourager.

And when you hear the word “mentoring,” think friendship on purpose.

Think natural and fun!

Coffee anyone?


Julie is currently a LARC Coordinator for Gateway Woods.