We all need friends. Introverts are happiest with just one or two (maybe three) and extroverts have got a busload of them. Girlfriends are a beautiful present from God and when marriage, family, work and responsibilities aren’t scratching where we’re itching, it’s often to girlfriends that we turn for encouragement, fun, advice and a kick in the place we sit down on. This is even more the case when, as often happens in church life, our friends are also our peers.
When we think about our need to be mentored we often overlook our friends, but sometimes peers are the best mentors a woman can have. They’re the people who goad you into asking for a raise, who push you into knowing that you can preach or teach or be the leader of the department, who can tell you that it’s past time to quit that job, that relationship, that lifestyle.
I was fortunate to study mentoring under academic leadership guru Professor Bobby Clinton as part of my Masters degree. Bobby goes into detail about the different kinds of mentors we can draw help and encouragement from. It was an empowering and encouraging module, and even more so when I learned that not only can our peers serve as our mentors, but we can return the favour. What a fantastic answer for many of us who have struggled to find mentors with the expertise, time and, most of all, the willingness to invest into our lives.
Sometimes peers are the best mentors a woman can have.
We often have friends who operate in similar contexts to ours, and being intentional about giving and receiving input for our comparable roles could provide some key answers for the challenges our jobs may bring us, as well as helping us answer many of the questions we are asking ourselves.
There are two varieties of Peer Mentor. The first is an internal peer; someone working in the same organisation as you, in a similar environment to yours and operating at about the same level of responsibility and maturity. For example, one of you may be the Children’s Pastor and the other may be Youth Pastor, New People’s Pastor or Pastor to the Seniors. You may even both be CEOs of your organisation. It’s important to note that you don’t need to have the same title; labels are not as relevant to the mentoring process as being in a parallel role with related responsibilities and similar maturity. These are the elements that will enable a good peer mentoring relationship. \
As seen in the Autumn 2016 edition of Liberti magazine, available for download from the App store.