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What is Christian mentoring?
“Christian mentoring is a dynamic, intentional relationship of trust in which one person enables another to maximise the grace of God in their life and service.” – John Mallison
So Christian mentoring is a one-on-one relationship where one person helps another person further their walk with God.
What is the 'Simple Mentoring Guide' and how will it help me?
The ‘Simple Mentoring Guide’ is designed to help facilitate a mentoring session.
It helps makes mentoring simple and accessible for all youth leaders, regardless of training or experience. It will guide you during your session with key focus areas and appropriate questions.
It is important to remember that the ‘Simple Mentoring Guide’ is not the only way to mentor, and it is not a set syllabus.
Who can become a mentor?
A common myth surrounding mentoring is that it is only reserved for ‘giants of the faith’. The only basic requirement for a mentor is a living relationship with God and an ability to listen and respond sensitively, and to encourage. If you can do these things, you can be a mentor.
What if the connection between my mentee and I doesn’t seem to be working?
Firstly, don’t assume the connection is not there and make up your mentee’s mind for him/her. Mentoring is always about the person being mentored, so if they think it is working, then trust that it is working. If the mentee is also not feeling the relationship/connection, you may have to help find them a suitable mentor that they are happy with. Don’t feel you have to force something that is clearly not working.
Can I mentor someone of the opposite sex?
We do not recommend mentoring someone of the opposite sex.
How much time do I have to commit as a mentor?
Most mentoring sessions only require an hour, meeting minimum once a month. However, we would also recommend spending some time outside sessions informally with your mentee.
Where should I meet with my mentee?
Depending on your mentee, a reasonably quiet, public place is usually best, like a café or similar. Somewhere with minimal noise and distractions. Never meet in a private place by yourselves, for the safety and care of yourself and your mentee.
How often should I meet with my mentee?
You should meet no less regularly than once a month. We would recommend weekly or fortnightly meeting with your mentee. Make sure you keep it regular and reliable.
How long should we meet for?
The ideal amount of time for each mentoring session is 1-1.5 hours.
What does a typical mentoring session look like?
Mentoring will look different for each individual. The ‘Simple Mentoring Guide’ is a great tool to help you in facilitating a mentoring session. Generally, it is a good idea to start the session with some informal conversation just to build rapport, make the mentee feel comfortable and ease into the session. This is important, but be careful not to let this go on for too long, as you want to make the most out of the time you have. You will also want to spend some of your time going through goals and accountabilities they had made in previous sessions, as well as setting new goals for next time.
How do I approach a potential mentee?
Obviously, you cannot force or tell someone to enter a mentoring relationship with you. A good way to approach it is to ask them to meet with you once, and then ask them at the end if this were something they would like to do regularly. Make the expectations of the relationship clear so they know what they are saying yes to.
How do I prepare for a mentoring session?
The first and most important thing is prayer. Pray for your mentor, pray for yourself, pray for the time you are about to have. This is the most important part of mentoring. God transforms His children, not you, so make sure you are constantly praying for your mentee. It also a good idea to keep a record of previous mentoring sessions and accountabilities you made during those sessions. Generally, if you don’t record something you will forget it. Keep a book/file for each person you mentor (but be sure to keep this confidential).
Where can I get the ‘Simple Mentoring Guide’?
The ‘Simple Mentoring Guide' is available from the Territorial Youth team. Contact us here and we will get you however many you need for no cost.
Should I get a parent's permission before mentoring an under 18?
Yes. If your mentee is under the age of 18 they are the responsibility of their parents/care-givers. The best way to achieve and maintain support from the parents is by communicating everything with them. Start honouring and respecting the parents of your mentee from the get go and it will make your mentoring journey a lot easier. If you say you will get them home by a certain time, make sure you do!
You will also need to have completed Caring For Kids training
Is a trial period ok?
Yes, as long as it has been clearly communicated. You do not want your mentee to be thinking it is locked in when you’re just trialing the relationship. Always allow the person being mentored to decide whether they want to continue.
Do I need to do any special training first?
Further training in mentoring is valuable but not necessary. Allow Jesus to be your teacher. He’s the best at it!
Do I need to do Caring for Kids training?
Yes! Caring For Kids training is mandatory. Contact us or talk to your Divisional Youth Secretary to find out when you can next attend training.
If you have any questions regarding safe interactions with young people you can also contact The Salvation Army Professional Standards office.
What if my mentee doesn’t want to be mentored anymore?
Obviously, you can’t force someone to be in a mentoring relationship. And the chances are if they don’t want to be there, they’re not going to get anything out of it anyway. If they genuinely don’t want to continue to be mentored, just encourage them, love them, pray for them and let them know you are there to support them if they need it.
How do you end a mentoring relationship?
Again, communication is the key here. For whatever the reason is in ending the relationship, make sure it is communicated. Sit them down, and tell them why you feel you need to end the mentoring relationship. It would be good if you could suggest and identify another person to take over the relationship so you are not leaving the young person out to dry. You will need to deal with this issue in a sensitive way because you don’t want to turn the person off from mentoring altogether.
Do I need a mentor myself to mentor someone else?
If you are planning on mentoring someone we highly recommend you being mentored yourself. It will help keep you growing and pushing forward and will ultimately better yourself as a mentor. We need to be constantly learning so that we can continue to develop as teachers.
Where can I find myself a mentor?
We suggest talking to your corps officers about an appropriate mentor for yourself. If they are unable to find one we would suggest talking to your DYSs.
What do you do during awkward silences?
Believe it or not, awkward silences are often great. Silence generally causes a greater depth of thought. If you are constantly filling silences with your own stories or advice, you are constantly cutting off your mentee’s ability to think critically. You’re job as a mentor is to create and space for your mentee to hear from God and come up with his or her own revelation. Not be constantly throwing in your 2 cents and telling them what you think.
Have some questions you can ask is the silence becomes very prolonged
What if they won't open up to me?
Sometimes, it will take a while before your mentee will open up to you. Some tips to help facilitate openness in a mentoring relationship are:
What if they become too clingy?
This will need to be addressed. Don’t expect them to be able to read your mind and change without you asking. Approach them about it and make it clear where the line is. Making the expectations of the relationship known at the beginning can help prevent this.
Why do you need to make mentoring official? Shouldn’t it just happen?
The key to mentoring is a good balance of structure and spontaniety. We need to offer those we are discipling both the structure of a regular gathering and access to our normal, everyday life.
The more access they have to your life the more they get to observe the way you act, talk and live. They will benefit from can seeing the way you interact with your spouse and kids, how you spend your free time, how you take a day off, how you resolve conflict, how you budget money and structure your days, etc.
But we believe the relationship should also ideally have some structure. Discipling relationships that are all spontaneity with no structure usually bear some fruit, but much potential can be wasted.
How do I get my leadership team on board with mentoring?
Most people will get on board with something if the vision is sold well. If you sell the need for mentoring and provide them with the support and resources to achieve the vision they should jump on board.
Do I give the mentee a copy of the card too?
There is no need to give your mentee a copy of the card, but if you feel this is helpful that is fine.
Is there a maximum number of people I should mentor at once?
This depends on your capacity and how much time you have. You will know if you have bitten off more than you can chew. You are better to do a really good job with just 1 than to do a poor job with 3. Start with 1 and slowly increase by 1 at a time when if you feel you are ready. Remember, Jesus only had 12 disciples and he was the best mentor ever! There is nothing wrong with only mentoring 1 person.
How do you know if the mentoring is working?
It is often hard to measure success in mentoring. Usually you can see the difference in someone if it is working, sometimes you can’t. They might be showing more of the fruits of the spirit in their everyday lives, they might be ticking off their goals, they might have more to share about what God has been teaching them. In my own experience, there have been times when I have felt like I was getting nowhere with a young person, then all of a sudden there was a huge breakthrough. Don’t let the lack of obvious signs of success deter you from persisting. Long-term investment is the key to successful mentoring.