Keys To Youth Ministry Longevity: The Importance Of A Mentor

As far as I know, Ron has never done youth ministry, but he is a big reason why I am still in youth ministry today.
I have known Ron for 15 years and met him when I first came to live in the States. Ron was Director of Small Groups and Assimilation at my first church here in the U.S and also became a mentor to me about 10 years ago.
Here’s 10 reasons why Ron has helped me to hang in for the long haul. Perhaps a mentor could do the same for you? 
1) He knows my good, bad, and indifferent, (and calls me out when I need to be challenged).
2) He’s a friend I trust and feel I can share everything with.
3) He’s in full time ministry at a different church and understands the rigors of ministry that I go through.
4) He has a place in North Michigan that we go to once a year to golf, grill steaks, and share real life together.
5) He has a great marriage that has been strong over many decades. He is a great example of someone who is in ministry and takes care of his wife well.
6) He has a strong faith that inspires me to dig deeper in my own faith walk.
7) He loves ministry! Even though he could have retired a couple of years ago, he loves what he does and has great purpose! He is an inspiration to me.
8) He is wise and helps me to consider the bigger picture of God’s workings.
9) When times are tough, he helps me to laugh.
10) He golfs at my standard and always helps me to feel like Tiger Woods!
There’s lot’s more I could say about Ron, but what I want you to realize is the importance of having a solid mentor in your life. Ron is someone who knows me, cares about me and my family, and is someone who is an incredible example to me. What could your ministry look like with a mentor like Ron in your life?
How has a mentor helped you hang in for the long haul? 
Phil <><

6 Responses to Keys To Youth Ministry Longevity: The Importance Of A Mentor

  1. Tim Eldred August 8, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    I found it to be a difficult practice to establish in my life because I started to seek a mentor in my thirties, but ten years later, it’s a non-negotiable and one of the dearest relationships in my life. It has strengthened (if not saved) my ministry and marriage. Having a mentor, as well as being a mentor, is a must for each is us.

    Imagine the personal development and spiritual discipleship that could occur within the church if we expected, promoted, and incorporated mentoring as the key aspect and core component of youth ministry. If we spent as much time connecting young people to a person as we have to a program in the last few decades, what kind of difference might we see today? Many of us would have understood the value of this gift and made it the DNA of our youth ministry philosophies; we would have given young people wat they really desire: greater accountability, higher expectations, and unconditional love – all warped up in a mentoring relationship.

    Let the paradigm shift begin.

  2. Jeremy Holbrook August 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    An excellent post! Couldn’t agree with you and Tim more! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Phil Bell August 9, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    Tim, I so agree. The way in which we experience mentorship will directly impact the way invest and mentor the students in our lives. There are no short cuts to this either. No quick programs, no quick curriculum, and no one-time event… It’s about an ongoing relationship that is committed and authentic… Lots to chew on!

    Phil <

  4. Jimmy Hudson August 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I would love to have someone in my life like that and I crave that kind of correction/direction. Any suggestions on where to look? I know it sounds terribly arrogant but finding someone to look up to like that seems pretty scarce around my area.

  5. Phil Bell August 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Jimmy, Mentors take time to find given the fact that all of us need to take time to build a friendship that allows us to see what kind of foundation a potential mentor has in their life. Timing is frustrating, but in the end it’s a huge deal. I knew Ron for 3 years before we had the conversation about him mentoring me. However, before then, I asked Ron if we could grab a coffee, do a round of golf etc etc etc… It was nothing official, but I sought out Godly guys to do life together with. It was then I could see Ron and his character and could see that he was a great source of encouragement and wisdom in my life. This does not happen quickly.

    If I was you, I would start out asking to grab a coffee with some of the guys in your church who you see somewhat frequently. Meet with them with a list of questions in your head: How did they come to Christ? What makes a strong marriage? What advice would they give to stay spiritually fresh. Obviously, have a bunch of lighter questions too… Over time, you will find a couple of Godly guys who you get on with and are encouraged by. But again, it takes time… Keep at it!

    Phil <

    • Jimmy August 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      So true. I’ll keep on looking thanks for the post and the replies. This post hit home for me.

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