There are other types of toxic mentors, but the above list gives you an idea of what I am talking about. Not all mentors fall into those categories. Some mentors are exactly what each of us need in our lives. Following are some of the characteristics of good mentors.
Same Spiritual DNA. Medical experts have been using DNA testing for a number of years. They do this to determine who a person is and who their offspring are. Children have the same DNA as their parents and exhibit some of the same physical and emotional characteristics. A mentoree will usually have the same "spiritual DNA" as her mentor. They have the same vision, purpose in life, character and spiritual giftings.
Sees Your Potential. The mentor sees beyond where you are today. She sees things in you that you may not see in yourself. She sees things that your family, teachers and friends may not see.
The mentor does not limit you to your past. She sees not just where you have been, but where you are going. She is able to see the great potential in you and refuses to give up until that potential is released!
Jane came from a background of abuse, neglect and rejection. After giving her heart to Jesus, she sensed the Lord had a plan for her life, but the emotions and inner turmoil from the past haunted her. Jane loved to sing, but felt her voice was not as good as others. Besides that, she could never imagine herself being used by the Lord.
She attended many of the meetings where I was speaking and was so hungry for the Lord. I encouraged Jane simply to stand next to me while I ministered one-on-one at the end of my services.
Soon, she was ministering with me, giving individuals prophetic words. This began to build a confidence in Jane and after a period of time, I asked her to sing prophetically over the people I ministered to. How surprised she was when she discovered she could do that!
Today, Jane is used by the Lord to sing and prophesy. She releases a powerful, healing anointing as she ministers. Jane had a wonderful prophetic potential on the inside. She merely needed someone to pull on that potential until it was released!
Role Model. Do not look for perfection in a mentor; no one is perfect other than Jesus. However, there must be respect for the mentor. A mentor is a role model.
A mentoree should respect not only the gifts in the mentor, but also the character. How does the mentor handle times of difficulty, family life, finances? Answers to these questions will help you decide if a certain individual is the right mentor, the right role model for you.
Agreement. Both mentor and mentoree must agree on the mentoring process. Agree on the length of time for the mentoring. Agree that if the mentoring is not working for either party, freedom is to be released.
God has times and seasons on His calendar. We need to be willing to shift into a new season when the time for the last season has ended.
Many advantages are available in having a mentor. Usually the mentoree gets to do things faster than the mentor did. I want those I mentor to run faster in the Lord than I did and to accomplish more and do it with a higher level of excellence.
A good mentor will help you develop skills and character that will affect you for the rest of your life. A good mentor also will help you stay focused. It is so easy to want to do many things, but these distractions can keep us from fulfilling the plan of God for our lives.
Kim is a very creative person. She loves to spend time cooking, writing, composing music and decorating. The problem is that she often gets frustrated because she cannot get any one task completely done. Her mentor helped Kim learn how to prioritize and set goals.
With her goals identified and set in front of her, Kim learned how to prioritize her daily activities. Within just a few weeks, Kim ran into her mentor's office, ecstatic that she had accomplished more in the last month than she had in almost a year.
Oftentimes a mentor can help us see through the fog around us. They can see what we often cannot. Breaking some old lifestyles can propel us toward our destinies. It takes focus to stay on the path and to go where God is taking us.
Through the years, I have either heard about or witnessed many powerful ministry leaders who failed to finish their course well. The apostle Paul gave a strong admonition when he said, "Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win" (1 Cor. 9:24, NLT). Mentors will help a person to complete the journey the Lord has prepared and to finish strong.
My prayer is that you and I will be remembered for finishing strong. May someone say of us at the end of life that we fulfilled the purposes of God in our generation! (See Acts 13:36.)
Pray and ask the Lord to lead you to the right mentor. Set your heart on desiring to be a vessel of honor for Him.
Ask God to free you from the effects of any toxic mentors you may have had and to give you greater discernment. Thank Him for sending into your life someone who can help you finish your course. With God's help and the right kind of mentoring, you will successfully finish your race and receive all that He has for your life.
Barbara Wentroble has been involved with the worldwide prayer movement since the 1990s. She is an author, speaker, and founder of International Breakthrough Ministries.
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