Pay it forward. It’s a simple concept. Instead of paying someone back for the kindness or investment they put in you, you pay forward by blessing and sowing into the success of someone else. As a marketplace minister, you can do this through mentoring. Mentoring is a critical tool for professional development. A lack of female mentors in the marketplace results in fewer women being prepared for leadership. This month we will explore several mentoring relationships from the Bible that can provide great examples on how to become a great mentor to our youth, or to be able to offer effective wisdom and guidance to someone in your ministry or profession.Some characteristics of effective mentors include: They are good listeners – they also know how to ask the tough questions that lead the protégé to finding their own answersThey are authentic – perfection is not a requirement and transparency is a mustThey are obedient – the truth needs to be toldThey are available – faithfulness builds trustThey are teachers – every moment can be used to teach a lessonThey know how to encourage and develop godliness in others – everyone needs to be stretched beyond their comfort zone
Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” We should all take time to build a trusted network of wise advisors, coaches and faithful friends who are willing to invest in our success, goals and future. It’s pertinent to your personal and professional success to hang around visionaries and those who make you a better person. As a healthcare administrator, I have seen medical students understand this concept very well. They seek mentorship from attending physicians and faculty for guidance on research projects, feedback on training rotations and advice on career altering job decisions. These students know the value of receiving guidance from well-respected, experienced colleagues. There is more than enough success to go around so never be afraid of opportunities to mentor another or be hesitant of a situation where you can be on the receiving end of a mentorship.Naomi and Ruth: Preparing for destiny - Ruth dedicated herself to caring for Naomi and serving Naomi’s God in her homeland. During Ruth’s time with Naomi, Ruth learned about God’s provision, redemption and faithfulness to those that believe and serve Him. Naomi was able to encourage and develop godly qualities in Ruth which helped her to become an honorable and hard working woman. These qualities allowed God’s favor to shine on Ruth in incredible ways and led Ruth to her future husband, the “family redeemer”. The wisdom Naomi shared with Ruth in response to God’s goodness to them prepared Ruth for promotion as she was destined to become Boaz’s wife and part of the family line of Christ.Moses and Joshua: Preparing for leadership – This mentorship was unique in that it was a long standing apprenticeship. Joshua was chosen as Moses assistant and commander of the Israelites’ army. He walked with Moses the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert. Joshua witnessed the miracles first hand and he was allowed to see the close interactions between Moses and God (Exodus 24:13-24). Joshua was prepared for servant leadership through on the job training! He was well-equipped and well prepared by His mentor to carry the Israelites into the promise land. That is what true leadership is about. Investing in others and preparing them for their time to shine.
Elijah and Elisha: Preparing for increase – Elisha was granted a double portion of the anointing that rested on Elijah. He walked beside Elijah as an apprentice following his example of faith and righteousness. Elisha understood his calling from the Lord and had resolute determination to stay by the side of Elijah and to remain committed to his mentor to the very end. Elisha’s ministry was characterized by God’s miracles, signs and wonders; an increase from this mentor’s works. Surely this was due to Elisha watching Elijah passionately pursue God’s concerns for Israel and Elisha’s desire to love God wholeheartedly as Elijah did.Elizabeth and Mary – Preparing for a great walk of faith - Elizabeth was Mary’s older cousin, but she no doubt was available to Mary as a trusted advisor and wise woman. Elizabeth fulfilled her role as mentor and guide by speaking life and words of encouragement to Mary. Elizabeth filled Mary with words to confirm God’s calling on her life and in turn Mary was empowered and full of praise to walk out in faith everything the Lord called her to do. I am sure Mary was exhausted and confused upon arriving at her cousin’s house after all she had just been through. But surely this wise woman, Elizabeth, knew how to speak a word in due season to refresh Mary’s soul. Mary stayed with Elizabeth and her family for 3 more months allowing Elizabeth to give her guidance on the ministry of becoming a wife and a mother. This retreat with her mentor paved the way for Mary’s great walk of faith.
Servant leaders see leadership as an act of service and consider it to be an honor to be used by God for leadership. Effective mentors look beyond their current season of leadership to prepare and train their replacement to carry on the work God began in them. Find your next generation leader now and empower and train them for their season to lead. Beware of thinking that you own your position. That will prevent you from “succession planning”. If you are driven and involved in promoting yourself, you will spend little time developing and encouraging other leaders around you. Pass on wisdom, instructions, resources, team members and assistants. Pay it forward!Resources For Your Journey To Kingdom Purpose:Reflection1. Read the book of Ruth. Who might benefit from your mentoring? Pray and ask God who He would like for you to mentor. Be determined to leave people better than you found them.Put Action To Your Faith:
Pay it forward this month and join me in participating in the Dress for Success S.O.S – Send One Suit Weekend February 25 – 28. Every year Dress for Success issues an S.O.S. to all women nationwide: Donate one new or nearly-new business suit to help another woman enter the workforce!! By dropping off your suit donations to any Dressbarn (www.dressbarn.com) store across the United States during Send One Suit Weekend, you are giving a disadvantaged woman the confidence to take the first step toward economic independence.© 2010. Valisha McFarlane. www.valishamcfarlane.com