All of us need someone to walk alongside us. We need to be loved and to love. We need to understand and to be understood. Whether old or young, women or men, from Asia, Africa, Europe, US, Australia or NZ, wealthy or without earthly riches, follower of Jesus, Buddha, Islam or atheist, liberal, Pentecostal, progressive, conservative or evangelical, pastor, large, medium or small church, denominational leader or business leader, we all need mentors. I’ve seen this for over 20 years. I’ve had the privilege to walk alongside people with all these backgrounds. And I’ve seen 6 keys that are able to unlock and guide people’s journeys. When using these 6 keys to specific areas, mentoring people is transformative.
1. Social – our social world is so critical for us to be healthy people. Who do you have in your world as a friend or confidante? Mentors help support mentorees, but each person also needs a circle of friends. Guide those you mentor that having a friendship group where they are loved and valued in community is essential. Scripture abounds with examples on this: the end of most of Paul’s letters, 2 Timothy 4:9-22, Acts 2:42-47.
2. Physical – diet & exercise, sleep and intimacy are all critical for living a healthy life. Spending time talking with people about these areas as mentors can help them avert a crisis, or even extend their life, and certainly live a healthier life. Kindly ask your mentorees how they’re going in each of these areas, without any judgement. And guide them to a healthier life. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Luke 10:27 all highlight the importance of this key area.
3. Emotional – this is one of the key areas where people collapse and self-destruct. We as mentors can guide people to healthy emotional well being. There are keys for this. (More on that next time.) Ask mentorees how they’re going in their inner world. Give them permission to be struggling. Give them hope. Guide them to take the Galatians 5:22,23 test asking themselves how their love is today, their joy, peace, patience… Critical key!
4. Financial – many people shipwreck or burnout because their finances are out of control. We all know this; many of us have experienced challenges in this area. This is an important key. We can guide our mentorees to healthy contentment. And sometimes, even recommend them to create pathways to greater earning! Paul helps us to understand godly contentment in Philippians 4:10-13.
5. Mental – our society is beginning to recognise the importance of this key area. We need to check in with those we mentor how they’re going in their mental health. Sometimes we are the person they’re confiding in deeply. We then may need to refer them to others who can give them professional clinical support.
6. Spiritual – all of us know that without a healthy focus upon Jesus we get off track very easily. Depending upon the spiritual background of the person you’re mentoring, walking alongside them to a place of revelation of God’s unconditional love, complete forgiveness and His precious value of them is pivotal. Clearly we know the centrality of God’s word to guide us and the importance of us pointing people to spiritual disciplines (more on this another time) which will then strengthen their lives.
All of us know these areas are essential. Guiding those we mentor to exploring each of these is a great privilege and opportunity to strengthen their lives enriching them on their journey. Practically, this may mean focussing on one key for a number of sessions or even circling back to check on various keys that we’ve previously covered.
May you be blessed, as I’m sure you’re a blessing, as you mentor those you guide and support!
Rev Dr Brian Birkett