The process of guiding and mentoring people is a highly delicate one: mentors need to be able to allow their protégés to progress and get out of their shells, but they have to strike the balance between directing the movements of their followers while still allowing these fledglings time to find the strength of their own wings and fly with their own will. One such form of mentoring is Christian mentoring, in which a Christian looks after a protégé who may or may not be a Christian, but who will benefit from the strength and wisdom of the older or more experienced person.
One such mentoring relationship, at least in the Christian sense, is that between a senior pastor and his junior. The former will guide the younger in speaking the voice of God, and in bringing a sense of unity and Christian goodness to a flock. Another such Christian mentoring relationship is that between parents and children, where Christian parents have to guide their children in following the Christian way of living. Christian mentoring, therefore, is the passing down and sharing of knowledge and wisdom by someone who is an expert in a field, and with the precepts and principles of Christianity guiding the mentor and protégé.
In general, Christian mentoring programs will help people guide those who are younger than they in living a Christian way of life. Some mentoring programs will even exhort would-be or aspiring mentors to do two things at the onset: find a good mentor who will pass down knowledge and get an aspiring mentor started on good living and good Christian teachings; and, at nearly the same time, find a protégé who might benefit from your teaching and wisdom further down the line. Once these two persons are identified, a would-be or aspiring mentor is exhorted to be as creative as possible in meeting such people. These meetings might be as simple as stopping over at someone’s house, meeting over for coffee, or having dinner together.
Another way for the mentor and protégé to meet is through a shared hobby. Such a hobby might include running, biking, writing poetry, reading books, or even cooking. Despite the image of intense and sometimes alienating spirituality attached to Christian mentoring, many Christian mentoring programs are actually more about building a stronger relationship between mentor and protégé. The shared hobby may actually be a simple beginning: many mentors will share tasks with their protégés, such as smaller jobs at one’s office, training the protégé in various tasks, or simply listening to the protégé talk.
What makes Christian mentoring unique, however, is its emphasis on things that would otherwise make people appear vulnerable in the secular arena. For instance, mentors and protégés are required to listen to each other intently, and to avoid speaking about oneself as much as possible in order to learn better. Second, mentors and protégés are required to be as real and as truthful to each other as possible. Honesty is certainly the best policy in Christian mentoring, and if a protégé is feeling down, awkward, unwanted, or simply out of sorts, he or she is encouraged to talk to his or her mentor and humbly ask for guidance.
There are many different kinds of Christian mentoring programs out there. If you need more information, talk to your local Christian pastor, or do research over the Internet. Many such mentoring programs also have their own websites and mailing lists that can make it easier for you to read about their activities and enroll in their program.