We are 5 years into mentoring, and though we are still young, there are many moments of reflection, careful prayer, thought, and evaluation among staff members trying to gain wisdom from others while learning from mistakes and growing in God s grace as we seek to reach and love this community. One area we ve particularly felt weakness and are constantly driven to our knees regarding is that of engaging the families.
How can we take the vision of mentoring a 4th grade child to the level of loving a family in a deep, gospel-centered way? God often works in mysterious ways by transforming a family from a child s influence; testimony after testimony depicts this. But, while this is bound to happen, we very much want to be intentional about building a relationship with parents/guardians, siblings, and other relatives early on. However, for most mentors, that s a difficult process and may feel overwhelming. And though there is no step-by-step process or formula to patent for each family, there are some practical things to implement.
– Spend time talking with the guardian on the phone, not just your protege. This often provides deeper relationship and a different perspective on things than your child will give you.
– When picking up or dropping off your protege, get out of the car and make sure to talk to the guardian. Many times these are often opportune times to pray over the family.
– Ask what some of their favorite foods are, and then prepare a meal for the family with your protege for them to take home. If time permits, eat it together.
– Be intentional, if possible, about spending time at the house with your protege and their family. Play games, do homework, include the siblings, watch a movie, read books, etc.
– Invite the family to your house for dinner to meet your family or roommates on a special holiday or occasion.
– Invite them to church. Visit their church.
– Celebrate family birthdays with cards or other creative ways. Be intentional about letting them know you value and love them all.
– Pray for God to open doors and boldness to walk through those when He does!
Christina Hickman, Mentor Coordinator