What to Look for in a Mentor

October 8, 2010 by Paul Chappell

A good relationship with a wise mentor is like having personal access to a goldmine. It’s an opportunity anyone would be foolish to not take advantage of! Proverbs 1:5 reminds us, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” (See also Proverbs 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20; 20:5; and 27:9.)

But just as a goldmine must be discovered, wise mentors must usually be sought out. They don’t hold a sign reading, “I am a wise mentor!” (And if they do, they likely aren’t!)

So, what do you look for in a mentor? How do you discern between truly golden wisdom and fool’s gold? The Lord has blessed me with wise and godly mentors over the years. The following characteristics are descriptive of each of their lives and are what you can look for in a mentor:

  1. A consistent walk of integrity over a period of time
  2. A strong marriage
  3. Faithful children
  4. Joy in ministry
  5. Lack of a critical spirit
  6. Discernment
  7. Knowledge of the Bible
  8. Many years of experience beyond you

Even as a goldmine is a carefully guarded treasure, so a relationship with a wise mentor should be valued and protected. How you nurture this relationship will, to a large degree, determine the value you receive from it. Remember, too, that you have a unique opportunity to be a blessing to your mentor by appreciating him and communicating that to him. Following are some ways you can build a relationship with your mentor:

  1. Pray for your mentor.
  2. Give your mentor entrance into your heart.
  3. Be honest with your mentor.
  4. Be kind to your mentor.
  5. Be generous to your mentor.

I thank the Lord for the godly men He has placed in my life that have been willing to be my mentors. I’ve benefited greatly through both their wise counsel and their godly testimonies. And I thank them for giving of their lives to counsel, encourage, and instruct me. They are treasures I don’t take for granted!


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