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Ministry Matters: How to Mentor and Be Mentored {When You’re a Pastor’s Wife}


Last fall I attended a Christian blogger’s conference for the third time. As usual, I met some fascinating, Godly  women. One of those women just “happened” to sit beside me at lunch, and we struck up a conversation about what we are passionate about. Turns out, this lady and I had some neat connections from my growing up years in Pennsylvania, we both teach piano, and she is passionate about mentoring. We had some wonderful, inspiring conversations during that conference- and mentoring always wove its way into our chats.

Mentoring seems to be a lost art among both the old and the young. I frequently hear this cry from my readers. The younger pastors’ wives are saying, “I can’t find anyone who is interested in mentoring me.” The older pastors’ wives are saying, “No one ever mentored me.” 

This has been the case with me as well. But interestingly, as I look back, I believe that I have actually been mentored. And I’ve done my fair share of mentoring, even though I’m young. It’s just happened in a vastly different way than I imagined.

So, how can you be proactive about mentoring and being mentored? How can you bridge gaps between the older and younger generations?

1. Be teachable, no matter what your age is

For the first five{ish} years as a pastor’s wife, I posed a question every time I met a new pastor’s wife:

“What is the best piece of advice you can give to a young pastor’s wife?” Most of them had a ready answer.  I remember those ready answers like they were spoken yesterday.  And to this day I carry in my heart my own ready answers. These answers, as they are given and taken, are like arrows that go into hungry hearts and settle truth deeply. Never underestimate the power of the wisdom God has given you to share. And never stop being willing to receive wisdom from others.

2. Reach out and ask for help in specific areas

Mentoring isn’t just for the purpose of gaining wisdom for spiritual growth and ministry. Mentoring can happen in any area of life! Do you want to learn a new skill? Find someone who is gifted, and ask them to help you. Do you want to spend more time with a Godly woman you know? Ask her if you can meet occasionally. To her it may be just a time to chat and share. But for you it is a rich gleaning time. You can still be mentored and not use the word “mentor.” In fact, it is possible to be mentored in several areas at once, by different people. The art of mentoring has the potential to be explosively creative and contagious!

3. Pray for a mentor

I prayed for about three years before God sent me a mentor. She was an older pastor’s wife, and I asked her if she would be willing to share her wisdom with me as a younger pastor’s wife. She agreed. This would be a long distance mentoring since we lived in different countries. Before we parted, She gave me a special bracelet and assured me of her prayers. I wore the bracelet every day until the string that held it together literally disintegrated from overuse.  I was mentored via email for about two years. Which brings me to my next tip.

4. Realize that mentoring often has seasons.

Even if you ask someone to mentor you, and they say ‘yes,’ it doesn’t mean that that relationship will last for many years or for your lifetime. People change. Circumstances change. Seasons of life come and go. In my case, my mentor began facing challenges of her own in her family and was not able to pour out as much as she wanted to. I took that to mean that God had provided a me for her to mentor during a specific season in her life, and He had provided her to mentor me during a specific season in my life. Turns out, the timing ended up being perfect in my life as well. And although we don’t have a mentoring relationship any longer, we have remained good friends.

Maybe you have a mentor now, but you won’t have one a year from now. Maybe you don’t have a mentor now, but you will have one two years from now. I believe God supplies mentors for seasons and specifics in our lives. Mentoring should be part of the rhythm of life….part of the ebb and flow.

5. Be willing to mentor those who are both younger and older than you

This type of teaching and learning goes well beyond age limits. I am currently taking violin lessons from someone who is quite a bit younger than I am, and am enjoying it immensely. And I have taught piano to senior citizens, and loved it. Some of my closest friends are 15+ years older than I, yet I actively share things that God is teaching me because I know they need to hear it, too. One friend and I meet via Facetime once per week. We are working through a motherhood book together- something we did in real life for several years before we both moved away. She is a mother who is in all seasons of motherhood at once, and I was her pastor’s wife. We share God in a beautiful exchange of what He is teaching us in the rhythms of our lives.

Don’t let the fact that someone is older than you intimidate you. Yes, the Bible commands older women to teach the younger women.{Titus 2:3-5} It’s a beautiful thing when it’s actually done. But at the same time, believers are commanded to edify and build each other up, regardless of age. {Colossians 3:16}

6. Be aware of what God is doing in your relationships

This is so key! If mentorship is a matter of prayer for you, then you will be aware of the people God is bringing into your life, and the people He is asking you to let go of. I believe God has purpose in who we “bump” against in life, and in who we embrace for longer periods of time. Friendships come and go, and they can’t be forced. Just keep your eyes open to who God is bringing across your path. Is there something you can teach them or learn from them? There is nothing proud about knowing you have something to offer to someone. And there is certainly nothing wrong with humbling yourself to learn. Jump in and do it while you are doing life together!

Currently we are mentoring a couple {older than us} who is preparing for the mission field. They asked us to do this; and interestingly, their request was a direct result of my prayer that God would bring someone into my husband’s life so he could use his pastoral skills during our sabbatical. So, my husband is coaching his friend as he prepares his doctrinal statement. And because our families get together each week, we wives learn little things from each other, like how to use essential oils and tips for playing the violin. I’ve even been able to help their teenage son with his science projects, due to some specific projects I did as a teen {chromatology, anyone?}  Who knew that I’d be able to pass that knowledge along twenty years after I learned it myself?  Nothing we learn along the way is wasted! Are we prepared to share?

7. Embrace being mentored by God Himself

God may choose not to give you an earthly  mentor. In my life as a pastor’s wife, I’ve had more years without a mentor than I’ve had with one. BUT, I can say with assurance that God has consistently mentored me. In fact, I remember when that thought hit me some years ago as I realized that He wasn’t giving me a human mentor…“Maybe God wants to mentor me Himself.” And so He has! When God does the mentoring, you learn quickly and unforgettably. You gain a wealth of experience at a young age. You have no choice but to learn to trust Him. You learn people skills and you learn to desperately seek Him for answers and guidance. You ask Him the same questions you would ask a human mentor:

“What should I do in _____________________ situation?”

“How should I raise my children?”

“How should I solve this issue in my marriage?”

“What is the next step in resolving this conflict within the church?”

“Should I speak or remain silent concerning this matter?”

“Can you help me understand what is going on with my health?”

The list is endless. The things you would pick up the phone to call a mentor for…those are the things you end up asking Jesus about. And, why not? He has all answers and all wisdom.  “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3

What a comfort! We are never without a mentor. It just may not be who we expect, where we expect, and when we expect. Are you open to and at peace with that? You may be amazed at how God answers your desires to mentor and be mentored!


A Kindred Spirit

1 thought on “Ministry Matters: How to Mentor and Be Mentored {When You’re a Pastor’s Wife}

  1. Thank You for taking the time to share this valuable information to me and the many thousands that you life untouched on a daily base I feel enriched and emprowed thank you again I pray God riches upon you.

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