If you look over your life, can you remember an adult that took the time to walk alongside you? Someone who took an interest in you. Maybe it was a youth leader or someone else in your congregation that encouraged you?
Mentoring is important. At the most basic level, it guarantees that a young person has someone who cares about them. They are not alone in dealing with their day-to-day challenges. Mentors can be an adult friend who is there to help and guide them and share how God is present in their life.
Mentoring creates relationships that help create a community within a congregation. It invites people to share their lives, their stories, and their faith.
There is compelling research about the impact that adults can have on teenagers as they grow into their faith. Research tells us that teens who have five or more adults from the church invest in them are less likely to leave the church.
Below is a wonderful example of the long-term mentoring relationship between Eric and Henry.
Hello, my name is Eric and I have known Henry and his family as active members and regular worshippers at our congregation over many years.
When Henry first asked whether I would be prepared to act as mentor in his confirmation studies, my first thoughts were “I have never done this before. Am I equal to the task, I’m old (85) and he’s so young.” However, I was happy to accept the invitation and we soon established a close relationship in the months that followed. I soon came to realise, as we journeyed together in studying the chief parts of Luther’s Small Catechism, that I was able to share something of my own personal faith experiences with Henry. At the same time, my faith was being renewed and strengthened through the work of the Holy Spirit.
It was a joy for me to support Henry in this way and to see eight young people give public witness to their own faith as each read their faith statements at the confirmation service.
To God be the praise and the glory.
Henry, on being mentored.
Eric and I sing in the church choir together. I feel like I’ve known him all my life. He is in charge of setting up the church Christmas tree each year, and I have really enjoyed helping with this for the past few years. I thought he’d be a great confirmation mentor as he was always friendly, energetic, and very knowledgeable.
This turned out to be the case as Eric has such vast knowledge and understanding of God, and of being Lutheran. Our time together was restricted by COVID, but we met in person when we could, for a walk and talk. Eric was the only mentor to show up to every meeting, even on Zoom, and he always contributed in depth. When restrictions eased, we could see each other more often, at choir practice as well as at Sunday church. He encouraged me and gave great feedback about how I was progressing in my faith journey. I was very happy to have Eric as my mentor, and we continue to see each other at church every week.
Mentoring leads to the growth in faith of both participants, as well as creating relationships that will enhance the life of the congregation. It is one way that every congregation member can be involved in youth ministry in an enriching way. Who can you walk with today?
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #4 - Children and young people have multiple adult mentors of vital faith.
If you would like to learn more about our guiding principles, you can find out about them HERE. You can also contact the team at Grow Ministries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will contact you.
Mentoring is important
At the most basic level it guarantees that a young person has someone who cares about them. Establishing a mentoring program in your congregation can be challenging and stretching, but we pray, it will be a rewarding experience for the people involved. This mentoring pack provides wonderful support and encouragement as you set out on your mentoring journey.