As I prepared to write this week’s blog post, I opened up my new 2016 calendar and there was my reminder that January is National Mentoring Month! I only became aware of this designation recently, even though it has been a nationally endorsed month since President George W. Bush proclaimed it in 2002. While the focus is on mentoring youth, as Christians we know we’re also to mentor those spiritually younger than us. The verses best known to motivate us to pour into someone else are Titus 2: 1-6:
Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. The Message
In my new book releasing February 9, Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I quote the above passage from The Message as a reminder that it is our job as Christians to reach out to the next generation and help them set a moral compass that leads straight to the throne of Christ. I often wonder how many Christians actually take this command from the Lord to heart. How many realize that the fate of our nation depends on the spiritual maturity of the next generation in our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools . . . ? If we’re not mentoring, who will do the job? Answer: the secular world!
As much as we complain about the current administration, and I agree there is much to be concerned about, President Obama has continued to endorse National Mentoring month, as has both chambers of the United States Congress. The campaign’s media partners have included ABC, CBS, Fox News, and NBC; Comcast; the National Association of Broadcasters; Time Warner; and Viacom.
Shouldn’t we, the united body of Christ, also support National Mentoring Month?
Here is an excerpt from this year’s presidential proclamation recognizing January as National Mentoring Month:
At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.
By sharing their own stories and offering guidance and advice, mentors can instill a sense of infinite possibility in the hearts and minds of their mentees, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, nothing is beyond their potential. Whether simply offering a compassionate ear or actively teaching and inspiring curiosity, mentors can play pivotal roles in young peoples’ lives. When given a chance to use their talents and abilities to engage in their communities and contribute to our world, our Nation’s youth rise to the challenge. They make significant impacts in their communities and shape a brighter future for coming generations.
I smiled when I read this proclamation, both for the championing of mentoring and that the President of the United States used the word “mentee.” When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and wrote Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry, many people told me mentee was not a word. I think Woman to Woman Mentoring put mentee in the dictionary!
Thank Your Mentor Day
As part of National Mentoring Month, a day is set aside to celebrate Thank Your Mentor Day. This year, it’s January 21, 2016. A day to thank and honor mentors who have encouraged and guided you, and had a lasting, positive impact on your life.
In Forsaken God?, I encourage readers to remember spiritual mentors and the way God used these men and women to shape their lives and then to imitate those mentors by mentoring whoever God puts in their path:
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7
Here are some ways the National Mentoring Month Campaign suggests for honoring your mentors:
- Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
- Express your gratitude on social media.
- Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
- Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
- Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.
To add a spiritual component to National Mentoring Month, consider:
- Start a Mentoring Ministry in your church.
- Become a spiritual mentor to someone spiritually younger, not necessarily chronologically younger.
- If your church has a mentoring ministry, serve in the ministry.
- My next book is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Honor your mentor or mentee by sending me a story about your mentoring relationship to include in the book. email@example.com.
- Pray for God to send you a mentor.
- Every month in About His Work Ministries’ Newsletter, we feature a Church Mentoring Ministry. Send me something you would like to share about your mentoring ministry to help other churches. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Start 2016 being a spiritual mentor, or finding a mentor.
- Remember that mentoring is part of parenting.
I’m looking forward to what God will have me share with you and perhaps mentor you in 2016. My “job” in About His Work Ministries isn’t to have a following, but to point others to Jesus.
Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year
Another post you might enjoy reading is How to Mentor in a World Forsaking God.