Spiritual Mentorship: Nurturing Faith and Growth
The Importance of Spiritual Mentoring
Spiritual mentoring refers to the process of meeting a person who is more established spiritually, who has influenced the lives of many in a positive way, and establishing a close spiritual relationship with him or her (Anderson & Reese, 1999). Spiritual mentoring is very important to people who are young in faith for various reasons. When a person is aspiring to become someone, it is important for them to work beside a person who is established in that field so that they can master what the position entails. For this reason, spiritual mentoring provides an opportunity for the young Christians to learn from someone who has more experience in spiritual matters (Buzzanell, 2009).
Mentors see things differently based on the experiences that they have gone through in their spiritual journey. For this reason, they are able to interpret things more wisely thereby giving the mentee counsel that is non-bias. In addition, spiritual mentors are in a position to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a mentee (Dollahite, 1998). They, therefore, give the mentees counsel that is aimed at improving who they are and pointing them towards who they want to be. Spiritual mentors also see more in a mentee than he/she can see in him/herself. They are in a better position to push the mentees to become better Christians by showing them the right way to achieve their full potential in faith and how to improve their relationship with God (English, 2000). Bearing in mind that our faith is something that is put to test every day, it is very consoling to know that there is someone who has been through that and can guide us towards the right path.
A Critical Comparison of the Two Mentors’ Interviews
Both the interviews were conducted using similar questions. In the first interview, John W. Howard Jr indicated that his mentor relationship with Mr. Hilton was a mutually beneficial relationship. He explained that both of them shared the roles depending on the circumstances. in that one of them can be the mentor in one situation and the mentee in the next. On the other hand, Alexander C. Smith indicated that his relationship with Pastor Hilton was purely mentor to mentee with him being the mentor and pastor Hilton being the mentee. He went forth to explain that he sees himself as a coach based on how he shares his knowledge and skills with others. He also indicated that he helped Pastor Hilton with various issues ranging from financial matters to wisdom and discernment.
In response to the second question, the respondent in the first interview was not very clear in his answer. He only mentioned how he and Mr. Hilton met, but he did not go into details on when and where they met throughout their mentoring relationship. He also indicated that they were close friends and therefore it can be assumed that they did not depend a lot on formal meetings. On the other hand, Alexander C. Smith indicated that he and Pastor Hilton met once a month, mostly in church and restaurants. He also added that they also kept in touch via telephone calls and social media in order to catch up on the things that were going through in their lives and ministries.
In response to the third question, John W. Howard Jr indicated that in his relationship with Mr. Hilton, they spent most of the time discussing what was going on in their lives and giving each other advice based on the challenges that they were facing. In the second interview, Alexander C. Smith explained that he and Pastor Hilton spent their time sharing the events that were going on in their lives and their ministries. They also discussed how to serve the members of their congregations better. According to him, they started and ended every session with a word of prayer. Saying a prayer is an important aspect of the life of a Christian as it is a way of inviting God to be a part of everything that we do (Sellner, 2002).
In response to the fourth question, both John W. Howard Jr and Alexander C. Smith indicated that the most challenging aspect of their mentor relationships was time. They both explained that since they were all busy with their personal lives and their ministries, it was hard for them to create enough time for the mentoring sessions. They both felt that the time they spent with their respective mentee and mentor was not enough to cover everything they would like to cover. Therefore, the aspect of time is very important to ensure a balance between the mentorship and the rest of the events in a mentor’s or a mentee’s life.
In response to the fifth question, John W. Howard Jr indicated that the most significant result of the relationship was the fact that he and Mr. Hilton had a lot in common in terms of spirituality, families, and friendship. For this reason, he felt that it was possible for them to fit in each other’s shoes, thereby providing each other with non-bias counsel. Alexander C. Smith, on the other hand, indicated that the most significant result of their relationship was the fact that Pastor Hilton had benefited a lot from the mentorship. He explained that the relationship had helped Pastor Hilton make critical and successful decisions in his ministry. It is important for a mentee to show some responsiveness during and after the mentoring process. Otherwise, the mentor will be disappointed in his work. Likewise, it is important for the mentor to give the relationship his all in order for the mentee to be inspired. Failure to this, both parties will find the mentoring process as a waste of time.
A closer observation indicated that although the questions to the two interviews were the same, the answers provided by the respondents were somehow different. This is because the nature of the mentor relationship between the respondents and their mentors were different. For instance, in the first interview, the relationship between the two had no specific mentor or mentee. Both parties played either role depending on circumstances. However, in the second interview, the parties had defined roles such that there was a specific mentor and a specific mentee. For this reason, the roles of either party in the relationship were defined.
Lessons on Mentoring
- Even a mentee has something to teach the mentor
According to the interviews, it is not only the mentors who have something to offer to the mentee. The mentor should never undermine the abilities of the mentee (Sanders, 2013). Since these are matters of spiritual growth, the mentor might seem to know a lot since he has more experience in the field. However, the mentee also has his own gift from God, which he can share with the mentor. This therefore leads to the development of a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship between the two parties.
- Both the mentor and the mentee must play their roles effectively
The role of the mentor is to empower the mentee and to help him/her grow spiritually. On the other hand, the role of the mentee is to learn as much as he/she can from the mentor in order to grow both spiritually and personally. For this reason, both the parties must be willing to fulfill their part of the bargain in order for the other to feel the worth of the relationship. For instance, is a mentor was reluctant in playing his/her role, the mentee will lose faith and most probably conclude that there are no role models. If the mentee, on the other hand, does not play his/her role well, the mentor will obviously be disappointed as it will appear that he/she is wasting his valuable time forcing the mentee to learn things against his will.
Since these are matters of spiritual mentorship, spending time with people who are spiritually established helps the mentee achieve his/her dreams (Kamya, 2000). For this reason, the relationship should be based on spiritual empowerment and growth.
Based on the above lessons, it is obvious that spiritual mentorship is very important in the life of a Christian. It is evident that mentorship leads to spiritual growth and empowerment. In addition, spiritual mentorship also strengthens one’s foundation as a Christian and points one to the right path and God’s purpose in one’s life (Rhodes & Chan, 2008).