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Mentoring September 2, 2014

Watch out for these mentoring pitfalls!

We can’t predict every issue and incident that may arise, but we can put some guidelines in place that can reduce the number of issues we might face in our Mentoring Ministry.

mentoring pitfalls

To prevent as many pitfalls and problems as you can:

  1. Print out this list and bring it with you to your next Mentoring Ministry meeting.
  2. Have the team decide in advance what you’ll do if these issues arise.
  3. Brainstorm ways you can set up some guidelines before your program begins to address some of these issues.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • You may have a couple of team members check in with every mentee and mentor at the one month and six month mark so that any issues can be addressed.
  • You might create a mentoring contract that addresses gossip, confidentiality, and number of suggested meetings.

Here are some things to watch out for:

1. Women don’t connect and stop attending

2. It’s too programed to meet some women’s needs

3. The “required” reading doesn’t meet the needs of the women

4. Time frame doesn’t allow for relationships to develop – it’s over before it really starts

5. Confidentiality is broken

6. Too much emphasis is placed on age differences rather than spiritual maturity

7. Too many required meetings or not enough required meetings

8. Closed program – new women must wait a year

9. A shortage of mentors/mentees

10. Lost focus – forget the purpose is spiritual growth

11. Gossip prevails

12. Professional counseling is not sought/recommended

13. No process for ongoing mentor training/encouragement

14. Honesty is lacking on either or both sides

15. Mentors view their mentee as a “project”

We may not be able to guarantee a smooth and fruitful experience for every woman involved, but we can try!

Your turn: What issues have you seen or foresee that may be pitfalls in your Mentoring Ministry?

You may also want to read:

Why Women are Running From Mentoring

Mentoring Programs and Resources

Changing False Assumptions Women Make About Mentoring

Mentoring August 26, 2014

Mentoring Programs and Resources

Mentoring Programs & Resources

There are a number of different ways that you can implement a Mentoring Ministry.

So many in fact that you may find it confusing!

I’ve broken mentoring resources and programs into 5 different categories that I hope will help your team as you build or refresh your Mentoring Ministry.

Mentoring comes in all shapes and sizes. Just as women have different needs, so do churches. I am praying God will clearly direct your team as you seek His will for your Mentoring Ministry.

Most Mentoring Ministries fall into one of these five categories:

1. Mentoring Teens – Teenage girls and older women are intentionally paired up for a defined amount of time (often for school year or through high school).

2. Structured Mentoring – Usually consists of a 6, 9, or 12 month program. Women are prayerfully paired after completing a profile sheet. A structured program is followed and there is a definitive beginning and end.

3. Mentor Only Training – Women who have the desire to mentor other women are trained and equipped. Women are encouraged to prayerfully seek out other women that are interested in being mentored.

4. Organic – God-directed women seeking out one another. There is little structure and no start/end dates. Focus is on “doing life together” and each mentoring relationship is unique.

5. Match Maker – Women call or email to request a mentor. The leader prayerfully seeks out a woman to mentor her.

You may already have an idea of what type of program God is calling your team to launch.

It might be one of the above or a blend of two or more.

Our Mentoring Ministry Team had an idea of what type of mentoring program we felt would most benefit the women in our church. To launch our ministry we wanted to find a book that we could use during our Sunday evening Discipleship Classes.

Our team gathered approximately 10 different books on mentoring. We divided up the reading, took good notes, and then met to discuss the pros and cons of each method over several weeks. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it was worth it!

Not sure where to start your research?

I’ve taken the initial list of books we reviewed and have included it below. The last book listed, Women Connecting with Women, is the book we ultimately chose to use for that Discipleship class. However, we gathered and gleaned great information from almost every piece of material reviewed.

The first, Organic Mentoring, I have not personally read. However, it comes highly recommended by several speakers I know. The author delves into what older/younger women are looking for in a mentoring program. Good food for thought!

Please note that each of these links is an affiliate link. You do not pay a penny more, but I receive a small commission which helps offset the costs of this site and is greatly appreciated!!

Organic Mentoring: A Mentor’s Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women

Women Mentoring Women: Ways to Start, Maintain, and Expand a Biblical Women’s Ministry

Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring

Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor

Impact My Life: Biblical Mentoring Simplified

Woman to Woman Mentoring (Ministry Coordinator’s Guide)

That Makes Two of Us: Lifestyle Mentoring for Women

Between Friends…A Woman’s Look at Mentoring God’s Way

Shepherding A Woman’s Heart: A New Model for Effective Ministry to Women

Women Connecting with Women, Equipping Women for Friend-to-Friend Support and Mentoring

Your turn to share: What type of Mentoring Ministry are you using or looking for?

You may also want to read:
A Fresh (and much needed) Approach to Mentoring
Watch Out for These Mentoring Pitfalls!
Why Women are Running from Mentoring
Changing False Assumptions Women Make About Mentoring

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

Mentoring August 19, 2014

Changing False Assumptions Women Make About Mentoring

The word “mentoring” carries a lot of baggage.

Changing false assumptions women make about mentoring.

Women make certain assumptions, many of which cause them to run from mentoring.

Here are a few assumptions women make about mentoring:

1. It’s always an older woman meeting with a younger woman – It’s not about age. It’s about experience. One woman just needs to be a little further along in her spiritual walk than the other. Every woman of every age can benefit from a mentor.

2. It’s a huge time commitment – It doesn’t have to involve weekly 2 hour meetings. Yes, there are some women that may want/need that and have a schedule that allows for such. Most mentoring can be done while women are doing other things – i.e. watching a soccer game, walking at the park, grocery shopping, over lunch, etc.

3. The mentor assumes the role of Dear Abby/Pastor/God – Mentors are not counselors. Few have the degree or the training. They are good listeners. They may ask thought-provoking questions. They never give advice (unless there is a real safety issue such as in the case of abuse). They make referrals to counselors and other services that are qualified and trained to help in those areas that they are not.

4. Is not for me. Whether they think they don’t need it, their problems are too big, or their schedule won’t allow, we need to make sure we share what a blessing mentoring can be. You women may need to be reminded that God created us to be in relationship with one another (and with Him).

There are two ways to purge your mentoring ministry of baggage and false assumptions.

1. Change the name of your mentoring ministry.

2. Change the way your run your mentoring program.

Purge your mentoring ministry of baggage and false assumptions.

I strongly suggest you task your Mentoring Team with the job of renaming your mentoring ministry. Give them time to pray and brainstorm.

Suggest the new mentoring name:

  • Be welcoming
  • Be inclusive and inviting to women of all ages (our team had ideas that we decided were too young and too old sounding)
  • Communicate the new vision

I’ll be sharing some resources and thoughts on how to run your mentoring program in upcoming posts! Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss them!

Your turn to share: What do you call your mentoring ministry? Does it draw every woman in?


Mentoring August 15, 2014

Why Women Are Running From Mentoring

Mentoring – it’s one of the biggest buzz words in Women’s Ministry right now.

Leaders are starting up new mentoring ministries in churches across the country.

They see mentoring meeting a huge need women have.

Why Women Are Running From Mentoring

It all looks great from the outside, but the problem is women aren’t embracing the idea of mentoring.

In order to get women to embrace mentoring, we need to look at why they are running.

Why women are running from mentoring:

1. Women are intimidated. They feel like they aren’t cut out to be mentors. They aren’t Godly enough, spiritual enough, prayerful enough, fill-in-the-blank enough.

2. Women feel like they don’t have time. Their schedules are already overloaded and the idea of meeting weekly (or even regularly) with another woman is just not doable or appealing. Given a choice, there are other ways they’d rather spend their time.

3. Women lack the training needed. Churches aren’t providing adequate mentor training on an ongoing basis.

4. Women are afraid of being discovered. Many women have deep dark secrets they want to keep hidden. Maybe it’s an abortion, an affair, not knowing how to pray, etc. If they get involved with a mentor they’ll find out!

Women aren't embracing the idea of mentoring.

5. Programs are too structured. There’s a lack of authenticity. Relationships feel programed and forced. Women long for things that feel real and develop organically.

6. Mentors assume they must provide Biblical counsel and do not feel equipped to do so. We need to remind our mentors that they are not counselors. Mentors need resource lists of qualified counselors and recommended agencies (abuse shelters, pregnancy centers, etc.).

7. Women don’t fully understand what mentoring is. There is an assumption and a lack of information. We must communicate clearly and repeatedly what mentoring in our church is, how it works, and how women can get involved.

Your turn to share: How are the women in your church responding to mentoring?

Games, Icebreakers August 30, 2016

Summer Reflections Icebreaker

Summer Reflections Icebreaker Game

Summer is quickly drawing to a close…

As we launch new Bible studies, small groups, Sunday School classes, and fall women’s ministry events, it can be fun to take a few moments to reflect on the things we did this summer.

Bible Studies February 16, 2016

Bible Study Review: Crowned: Created for Glory, Called by His Name

Bible Study Review Crowned

A couple years back as I scoured the internet looking for women’s ministry resources, I stumbled upon Hive Resources, a site created by Melissa Deming which helps women sweeten their walk with Christ. Thrilled to find another writer with a heart for sharing women’s ministry resources, Gina Duke and I invited Melissa to be a part of our Must-Follow Women’s Ministry Leaders board on Pinterest. (Be sure to follow our board if you don’t already!)