One of the biggest concerns we hear from young professionals at The High Calling relates to mentorship. Young men and women write to us hoping that we can connect them with other Christians in their field. “Where can I learn from someone who has been down this road before? Will somebody come alongside me in my early career to speak into my situation with the wisdom of their full history?”
Although The High Calling has not served readers in this way, we are constantly looking for a sustainable model of mentorship for young professionals. Our research shows that young female professionals especially need good mentors because many of them are rising into positions of leadership that have not been traditionally held by women. A young man might approach his father or grandfather for career advice. But many of our mothers and grandmothers were not allowed the career options that young professional women are navigating today.
So far, I’m talking about the coaching side of mentorship. Some people even serve as professional coaches, engaging in mentorship as a paid consultant. Such relationships can be helpful as people develop themselves personally and professionally to maximize their own efficiency, focus, and productivity.
But some mentor relationships go deeper than this. In a recent video on The High Calling, Jenny White talks about the power of a volunteer mentor, someone who is saying, “I’m doing this for the Lord, because I see the potential in you.” This is the kind of mentor Paul was for Onesimus.
Paul must have seen great potential in Onesimus to vouch for him in this way. He offers more than just a character reference. He offers to pay the man’s debts. For any leader who is thinking about mentoring a young person, this can be a scary proposition. But it is really quite common.
I cannot remember how many times someone in authority over me has demonstrated confidence in me by picking up the check, taking me out for coffee or breakfast. No one actually offered to pay off my credit card, but the most powerful mentors in my life invested significant time and money to encourage me. They took a chance on me, and I work hard to live up to their confidence.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Who was been an important mentor in your life? Have you told that person what his or her mentorship has meant to you? Is there anyone in your life or work or community who needs mentorship? What are some simple things you can do this month to invest in that person?
PRAYER: Dear God, I am so grateful this morning for the mentors you have placed in my life—Mr. Sullivan, my high school English teacher; Rod Chisholm, my youth pastor; Dorothy Hall and Gretchen Bernabei who encouraged me as a young teacher; and Dan Roloff who continues to encourage and inspire me in my work at The High Calling. Thank you for working through these people.
Help me to be a good mentor to others as well. Help me to be sensitive to people who need encouragement. And most of all, help me do more than dispense career advice, choosing instead to invest in others as my own mentors have invested in me.