By Gena McCown, Women’s Ministry Council Co-Founder
Mentorship is important, it is something that the Women’s Ministry Council has encouraged through our meetings and website articles. When we can put together formal mentoring programs in our Women’s Ministries, we are equipping the women in the church and it trickles outward to those who are in their sphere of influence.
As leaders, we need mentoring as well. While it may be harder to meet with a mentor on a weekly basis, as we juggle the balance between home life, work life, and ministry life; mentorship is not something to be neglected. Your mentor may be the overseeing Pastor, a Pastor’s wife, an older woman in the church, or even a Women’s Ministry leader hundreds of miles away that you connect with periodically.
Mentors serve as a landing place where we can not only talk about the practical ins and outs of ministry work, but where we can also come to face some uncomfortable truths. At the beginning of April, I attended The Gospel Coalition conference. As part of the conference, there were a few opportunities to attend other events. One was a breakfast event, sponsored by Serge.org, for Pastors and ministry leaders. In addition to listening to two amazing speakers, everyone had the opportunity to sign up for a one hour mentoring session with a Serge Mentor.
My intentions were to take advantage of the mentor opportunity in reference to the future of the Women’s Ministry Council. I signed up with a mentor who had experience as a Pastor, in the mission field, and organizational backgrounds. We began our conversation with my sharing about what the Women’s Ministry Council is and the long term vision for the ministry; where we were at currently and some of the obstacles we are facing. I was looking for someone who would give me practical ideas to overcome those obstacles.
What I got was someone who was more interested in ME and less about what I was doing. He asked questions like:
- How is your marriage right now?
- How do you feel about these obstacles?
- What about your ministry work brings you joy?
Then he hit me with a hard punch…. “I want you to close your eyes and imagine God talking to you right now, what would He say to you?”
I wasn’t prepared for that question. Or, what my answer would mean. I was grateful for the conversation that would come from it. This is what a mentor does, it’s not just about practical steps and problem solving, but an investment in the person. Asking the questions, getting to the deeper issues, being able to see what may not be obvious to the other person.
This is also why, as leaders, it is important that we have a mentor speaking into our life. Peers are great for accountability, but mentors are speaking from experience. Whether you have a regularly weekly meeting or a quarterly check in session, mentors help us see beyond the obvious from a neutral position. This is why it is best to have someone who is not directly involved with the ministry work.
The Pastor that oversees the ministry can give you perspective from the outside looking in and within the parameters of the church vision. A long term (or retired) Women’s Ministry leader in another state can speak to you from experience. A neutral third party may help you see beyond the actual ministry and how the work is affecting your life. Prayerfully consider how having a mentor involved in your life will not only bless YOU but also those you lead.