What is Mentorship? By Christine Hitch
A mentor is a trusted advisor. A mentor is someone you can look to, trust and share all aspects of your life with - both the good and the bad. One of my favorite mentor relationships in the Bible is the one between Paul and Timothy. Paul led Timothy to Christ, and throughout his life he called Timothy his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul acted as his spiritual father and guided him through his leadership role, providing prayer and advice. I can think of several people in my lifetime who did the same for me. Much like Paul’s letters to Timothy, I remember texts of encouragement and prayers over cups of coffee from my own “Pauls”. These people were very much placed in my life for a purpose, helping to advance my faith and guide me through a stage in life or a leadership role in the church.
A mentor is a friend. We often think of mentors as being older and wiser than us, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The mentors that are currently in my life are peers that are going through or have just gone through similar experiences in their life and are able to share their perspective. Likewise, we are also called to be mentors and share our experiences with others, whether it be someone older, younger or the same age. Timothy 2:2 says, “The things which have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul is calling Timothy to share the wealth! If someone is pouring into you, learn from their knowledge and wisdom and then share it with others.
A mentor doesn’t have to have a perfect past. Paul reminds Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” I think some of the strongest mentor relationships are the ones where the person is open and honest. People can often learn the most when they learn from past struggles and sins and how they were overcome.
Mentors keep you on track. Paul reminds Timothy various times to “keep the faith” and “fight the good fight.” Paul says that 2 Timothy 1:3, “as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.” Being a Christian is not always an easy task, so it is important to have someone on your side for encouragement. A mentor should constantly hold you accountable, being there for support and reminding you to keep fighting the good fight!