Finding a Mentor


Ron Edmondson offers some advice about how to find a mentor in two steps.

Finding a mentor can be tough. So if you’re ready to hear the complicated process… proceed with caution.

Here’s how to find a mentor:

Step One: Look for one.

Step Two: Ask him or her.

Can you remember that? Perhaps you need to write it down… just in case! 

Okay, I realize it’s not a fair statement to someone who really desires a mentor and can’t seem to find one, but I still think it’s true. The best intentional or seasonal mentors are recruited.

Recognizing that many are still left wondering where to find a mentor, here are a few thoughts about my “Look for… and… ask” recommendation that may help you widen your search for potential mentors:

  • You will have to be intentional in finding a mentor. You must desire one badly enough to do what’s necessary to find one.
  • Don’t be disheartened when you ask someone to mentor you and the initial answer is "no." You may need to ask several people until you find one willing to commit the time to you.
  • Be sensitive to God’s activity in your life. If you are praying for a mentor, and your motives are pure in your request, my suspicion is that God will honor this prayer. You may have mentors around you that you have yet to see.
  • In your pursuit of a mentor, don’t look for people exactly like you. There will be a little stretching involved here, but look for someone with the character, qualities and expertise you desire to have or improve upon, but not necessarily someone wired exactly like you. That may even mean they are not in ministry. My current mentor is not; he’s in business. He has the heart of a minister though and, with his age and experience, more church experience than I have, and certainly more life and leadership experience, he is the perfect person for me.
  • One problem I see young pastors make is that they want a Rick Warren or Andy Stanley level leader to mentor them, but I’m confident both those guys would tell you not to follow them, but to follow Christ. I’m not advising you to lower your standards in a mentor, but I am encouraging you to better define your objectives. Again, look for character in a mentor, not position. That usually opens the playing field to finding one.
  • The best person to mentor you may be the one who didn’t make it where you want to go… but still wishes he or she had. My dad was seldom there for me while I was growing up. He made many mistakes, but before he died he said some of the most profound things. I’ve got lots of good business advice to give a small business owner, but most of it is not from my success in business, but from my failures.
  • Give the person you ask to mentor you ample time to process your request. It’s a big one. You’ll want to make sure your mentor is committed to the process and not just trying to be nice.
  • Be prepared to inconvenience yourself to accommodate the schedule of the one willing to mentor you.

Let me make this point clear: One reason you may not have a mentor is because you haven’t asked someone to mentor you. Ask!

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