At iGo Global over the years we have developed a MAP for our students as they return from an overseas experience. This Missional Action Plan (MAP) won’t help you find your world geography class, but it will help you continue to continue the journey to becoming someone that lives on mission day in and day out. Check it out.
Checkpoint #1 – Enlist a Mentor
Find someone you can talk with regularly who will hold you accountable and encourage you to continue the journey. You need help and you need someone to spur you on just like you needed a team leader while you were overseas. In fact you are practically looking for a team leader as you embrace a life on mission. Here are three helpful tips when it comes to finding a mentor.
1. You may not want to ask anyone. People are busy with a capital BUSY and the thought of adding one more thing to the calendar may be a deal breaker. This is especially true for someone that you would seek as a mentor in your life. So what does this look like? Instead of a formal mentoring relationship that adds to the calendar, try telling the potential mentor that you respect them and think they could offer words of wisdom for the journey. Ask them if it would be ok for you to spend time with him from time to time as a part of his regular schedule.
Example: Your student pastor would make a great mentor, but he is already really busy. So why not ask if you could ride with him to a football game or sit next to him at the volleyball game he is attending. Run errands with him on Wednesday to help him get ready for church that night. You could also simply ask him to meet with you one week, ask him to speak into your life, and then wait a couple weeks and try to meet with him again. The less formal the approach, the more likely you are to get what you need – mentoring.
2. Pursue the right person. You need peers to walk with you as you live on mission and live out your faith. No doubt about that. However, very rarely can a peer be your mentor. Mentors need to be at least a step or two ahead of you in life and ministry. Look for the person who is being faithful with the things that are right in front of her: job, marriage, family, church, etc. and pursue time with her. She doesn’t have to be your youth minister or your BSM director to mentor you. She just has to be ahead of you in this journey and demonstrating the ability to be faithful with small things. Then you just want to learn from her experiences as she has walked in obedience to the Word.
3. Make the most of every opportunity. There are some elements to mentorships where you just do life, hang out, and talk about something. But keep in mind that what you want here and need here is to be mentored. So be prepared. Be ready to ask your questions when you get the opportunity and then actually listen to the answers. Take notes. And above all, be vulnerable. You will get help when you admit you need help. Share your struggles. Ask for specific prayer. The life on mission isn’t any easier now that you have spent part of your summer in Morocco. Be real. Be honest. Seek help.
Every checkpoint on the map has a potential detour. An obstacle that could prevent you from embracing a life on mission. The detour for Checkpoint #1 is reverse culture shock. Depending upon how much time you spent overseas you may encounter some levels of culture shock on the back end of your trip. That can get really intense when school starts and you see so many people falling into the same old routines, habits, and relationships. As you experience frustrations with your peers and the American way of life, it will help you to remember the Ancient Work teaching. God is at work right where you are, all around you even, just as much as He was when you were overseas. And His plan is to use you in this work. In fact, He sent you to that school at this time as His ambassador to make Him famous right there. See your classmates as people who need to know Jesus. Pray for them. And ask your mentor to help you see all of life as a mission.
What about you? What tips would you add to the list on how to find a good mentor?