For the next couple days, Emily Prevost, associate coordinator of leader research & product development in the BGCT Congregational Leadership Team, will share some of her thoughts on healthy mentoring. Along with a lot of other things, Emily helps young leaders identify their calling and develop leadership skills.
I had been on the job about 2 weeks. I was (and still am) really young. I was eager for someone to show me the ropes and help me get started. Even so, when a person I barely knew approached me to say “God has told me that I should be your spiritual mentor,” my first reaction was “Well, God didn’t fill me in on the idea.”
I was hungry for the knowledge a mentor could provide, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about a complete stranger being my mentor.
As I look back on my experience in ministry, I realize that I actually had quite a few mentors. My first job just out of seminary was at Texas WMU; my supervisor handed me a sheet full of names of people that I ought to spend some time getting to know. I had lunch and coffee and mid-afternoon visits with a lot of them who filled me in on Baptist life, office politics, great reading material, helpful resources and who wasjust generally encouraging to my ministry. The list also had a list of books, articles and archive files that provided a great deal of history, depth and information to the ministry I was beginning.
There were also couple of people who worked alongside me who took me under their wings. One prepped me for upcoming meetings, events and activities. And she showed me how she managed her calendar, created her goals and made plans, made space for maintaining health and relationships and dealt with difficult people. She did not necessarily expect I would do everything the same way that she did, but she always offered anything she had found that worked for her as a starting place toward finding my own way and applying it to the specific group I was working with.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, really, that Texas WMU knew how to mentor the new girl in the office. My entire life, I have been mentored by women who were a part of Woman’s Missionary Union.
Two of the people most responsible for helping me to really understand what it meant to follow Christ were my Acteens leaders in high school. The person who helped me learn how to teach a Sunday School class or lead a conference was also my Acteens director, Shawna Ashlock. When I was just 13 or 14, she got me started by asking me to help her teach a small part of our weekly class. The next time, Shawna asked me to teach the class with her. Then, she helped me plan my own outline for teaching. I didn’t even realize at the time that she was mentoring me.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Shawna … and I’m extremely pleased to say that we’re still good friends. I know I’m not the only one who’s had a great experience with a mentor.
I’d love to hear from you about the mentors who have really had a great impact on your life.