Editor’s note: We are continuing our blog series on mentoring using the Mentoring Pillars written by Jim Feiker. This third pillar emphasizes how important healthy, authentic relationships are to the mentoring process.
What I regret
The thing that I regret most about my earlier years in mentoring is that not every relationship was a close, healthy one. Though with some, we were meeting one-on-one, there was not that dynamic plus factor of a friendship that bonds people together for maximum mutual growth.
In those early years, I tended to be much more content-oriented and guarded in sharing my struggles and negative emotions. I was not very vulnerable with people, which greatly impacted the effectiveness of our relationship. People could not identify with me as a fellow traveler, still in process, and therefore could not easily share their own struggles. We often had a spiritual relationship, but not a holistic one. We stayed on the surface where it was comfortable and did not risk revealing ourselves to one another in love.
The greatest impact
Christian mentoring is a dynamic, intentional, incarnational relationship of trust. In this relationship, one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources to maximize the grace of God in their life and service. Mentoring best occurs in the context of these healthy, God-focused relationships and community. Here the greatest life-on-life impact occurs in each person. The very definition of mentoring is relationship – one that influences and enables people. It is a relationship of investment.