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Four Characteristics of a Great Mentor

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A few weeks ago, I began a new series of posts about the importance of spiritual mentoring and how it pertains to our call to make disciples. As one of my professors would always say, discipleship is “life to life.” It involves one person pouring into another. So… what should we look for in a mentor? I’ve identified four characteristics that I believe are very important.

Someone you are comfortable with.

True mentoring requires you to share your life with someone else. In order to do this, you need to find someone you can feel comfortable opening up with. This is someone who you can trust not to judge you, share your secrets with others, or give up on you.

There are certain men in my life that I greatly respect but I couldn’t make them a long-term mentor because I don’t feel comfortable being that open with them. It has nothing to do with their character or integrity. It is simply a matter of personality and those same men have gone on to be great mentors to others. They just weren’t mine.

Someone who models Christlikeness.

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself, “Is this person following Christ in such a way that I could model his or her life?” Remember, spiritual mentoring is about immersing yourself in the other person’s life. It isn’t just about learning nuggets of wisdom from the other person. It’s about understanding how Christ has impacted your mentor so you can allow him to impact yours as well.

So is he the type of husband or father you want to be? Is she the type of wife and mother you want to become? Does she grow and serve in the church the way you think Christians should? Does he model Christ in the workplace the way you want to? If you wouldn’t be happy becoming more like your mentor, then you need to find a new one.

Someone who is humble.

Be weary of someone who thinks they’ve figured things out. A good mentor is willing to admit his mistakes as much as his victories. Find someone who is willing to say “I don’t know” on occasion and admit his own weaknesses. You can learn so much from watching your mentor struggle with sin as you can from his victories over it.

Someone who is being mentored.

Finally, you need to find someone who is still growing himself. My dad has always been a mentor to me but I know he also constantly grows from his relationships with older men whom he respects. If your mentor isn’t willing to be mentored, then she probably shouldn’t be mentoring you.

Discuss: What else would you add to this list?

Posted in: Discipleship

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