A Mentor’s Biggest Mistake

By Doug Franklin June 14, 2016

A mentor can support struggling students as they move through the refining fires that fortify their faith. A mentor can help hesitating students take the challenging journey from their head to their heart (a journey many Christians have not taken). A mentor can encourage overly comfortable students out of the shallow end of the spiritual pool, teaching them how to swim in deep waters.

But despite all of these amazing things mentors can do for students, there’s one thing they can never do: they cannot be the “author and perfecter” of their students’ faith. Here’s what I mean. It’s tempting to guide students down the same faith journey we walked. But it’s better to equip them for their own journey. When we don’t have answers to difficult questions, we tend to default to what we know. We encourage students to do it how we did it, taking them to stops along our own road, walking in our old footprints.

Unfortunately, when they only know to walk along someone else’s journey, they won’t learn how to listen to God’s voice guiding them, and they won’t follow him with faith into the unknown. Sure, some parts of our faith walks will intersect and repeat, but hearing God’s voice and following him into the unknown is a priceless practice. And when students follow Christ in this way, they will truly own their faith.

“It’s tempting to guide students down the same faith journey we walked. But it’s better to equip them for their own journey.”

We must let Christ be the Author and Perfecter of our students’ faith. Our story is written by him and him alone. Mentors are there to help their mentees learn how to hear his whispers, accept his challenges, and take worthwhile risks. Mentors help their mentees live and follow the story the Author is scribing.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More