Tag Archives: Mentoring

Your Mentor is not good enough.

15 Nov


You may have a good mentor.  You may have a great mentor. You may have the world’s best mentor. However, I have bad news for you.


Your mentor is not good enough.

I believe in mentoring relationships.  Well, I actually believe in symbiotic relationships which better expresses the mutual benefits of the relationship.  I also prefer the word discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2), but since neither of those words are trending, I will stick with the word mentor (imagine your favorite sad emoji – here).

Here are four reasons why your mentor is not good enough.

The instability of life.

The geographical instability of Emerging Adults causes instability in many other areas of life including: income, living situations, and relationships.  Distance affects our relationships, and it doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.  While relationships can continue long distance, you can’t get a hug online.  Make sure you have multiple healthy relationships in case your life (or their life) makes a sudden left turn.


 Your mentor is not fully equipped to meet all your needs.

I am high maintenance.  Ask my mentors.  Ask my wife.  Ask my friends.
The good news for them is that I am worth it. And so are you.

One individual cannot possibly meet all your needs. Even the best mentors are limited in their own skills, knowledge, and bandwidth. There are people who perform some elements of what mentors do, while failing altogether in other elements.  (Parks 2000)  We all have various needs which may include:  social, vocational, relational, financial, and academic. Take time to reflect and understand the depths of your needs and identify several individuals who can support you.

Your mentor doesn’t have the time to meet your needs.

We all live under time constraints, and have a limited network of relationships.  While our mentor may want to spend time with you, other issues may rightly take precedence in their life.  No single relationship can satisfy the casting needs for the drama of our becoming. (Parks 2000)  We are all needy – at times in life. We need regular support, and putting that pressure on one individual to meet your needs moves a mentor towards burnout. If you always see Jane on the weekends, but she works during the week, maybe you can locate someone who has a similar schedule as you to connect with during the week.

Your mentor cannot give you a proper concept of community.

Mentoring should not simply be done exclusively in coffee shops, but should extend into everyday, dynamic contexts.  While a mentor can help you process the issues in life, you also need mentors with whom you can experience life together.  According to Parks, places that typically represent the power of mentoring communities in young adult lives are higher education, professional education, workplaces, travel, the natural environment, families, and religion.  (Parks 2000)  In a community setting, mentors can see the individual’s behavior, and observe how others respond.

Your mentor is not enough.  This is the purpose of mentoring community and the beauty of the body of Christ.  A church which seeks to build intergenerational relationships is naturally designed to fulfill this purpose.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, and the Founder of the EA Network – a Facebook community focused on those who minister to emerging adults.

Beyond Mentoring – Marks of Symbiotic Relationship

26 Mar

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2013. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Last month, I shared how the church needs to think beyond mentoring to engage emerging adults.  Mentoring often gives the impression of an omnidirectional relationship where one person gives and one receives.  Continue reading

Men Mentoring Men

20 Feb

© 2014 arileu, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

As I surf the web for material appropriate for our readers, I am often shocked at HOW LITTLE has been written.

Why is nothing being written to men about the Christian faith?

1.  Maybe it is because men don’t care about the topic.

2.  Maybe it is because men don’t read.

3.  Maybe it is because there is no money in it.

4.  Maybe because no one has a passion to write on the topic.

5.  Maybe because those who have a passion to write about it, cannot because they don’t make any money at it.   (I know several men in this category – including myself.)

Anyway, this post was going to be an article about men mentoring other men.  Unfortunately, there is little on the internet about this topic.

I did find an old website (although not necessarily Christian) does talk about mentoring.  It is worth a read.

Click HERE.

Here is a piece that I recently wrote on mentoring.


photoDr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to help eemerging adults enter adulthood.  If you would like to support my ministry, you can click here.

Beyond Mentoring – A Call for Symbiotic Relationships

18 Feb

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2015. http://www.aaronrobertphotography.com

Mentoring is a hot topic these days within the church.  Many people say they want to find a mentor, however, few actually do the work (or find the courage) to acquire one.  Sharon Parks writes, “Restoring mentoring as a cultural force could significantly revitalize our institutions and provide the intergenerational glue to address some of our deepest and most pervasive concerns.” (Parks 2000, 12)  This quote acknowledges that our deepest concerns about our society and the church cannot be solved by one sector of society, but will require a unified vision of all generations.

Many young adults seek after mentors within their vocational fields in order to build their knowledge, contacts, and other resources.  Emerging adults are taught to seek after mentors in order to advance.    This perspective of mentoring further defines mentoring as a relationship where one gives to another.  One partner of the relationship is a gatekeeper to money, fame, experience, or advancement.

Mentoring is defined as “someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.”  (Merriam-Webster, Online).  This definition clearly expresses a unidirectional relationship where one gives, and the other receives.  However, anyone who has spent significant time with a person from another generation knows that both individuals give, and both individuals receive.  Healthy human relationships are omnidirectional where giving and receiving moves in both directions.

As Millennials come of age, a new perspective of mentorship has emerged, one which is changing our understanding and praxis of mentorship.  Kinnamen states, “Are you open to “reverse” mentoring, wherein you allow younger leaders to challenge your faith and renew the church?”  (Kinnamen, 205) Setran and Kiesling in their excellent book Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood say, “…guidance still desperately needed but it is a guidance that is dialogical and mutual rather than unidirectional mentoring (Setran, 206).  We must acknowledge the interdependence of human relationships among generations.  While many resort to the word mentoring, the concept has changed and requires us to go beyond.

© 2011 Lakshmi Sawitri, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Scientists use the term symbiosis to describe relationships that exist for the mutual benefit of each individual.  One example of a symbiotic relationship is the Goby Fish and Snapping Shrimp.  The near-blind shrimp relies on the eyes of the Goby fish while constructs and maintains borrows on the ocean floor.  With one flap of his tail, the fish communicates to his partner that danger is present.  Another example is the African Oxpecker’s relationship with various large African animals.  Larger animals are cleared of ticks by the Oxpecker who live off the ticks (and according to more recent findings, the blood of their host as well).  Symbiosis illustrates the interdependence relationships that God designed humans to develop. (Here is a scientific article on the topic.)

© 2009 Ian White, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

We were designed by God to be in relationships with others.  Interdependent relationships cause growth and maturity.  Interdependent relationships supply love and encouragement.  Interdependent relationships provide personal significance (“My life matters to another person.”)

The time has come when we are called to go beyond mentoring.  We must seek relationships in which we give and receive.  We must move from independence into interdependence.  We must call others to do the same.





Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood by Setran and Kiesling

You Lost Me by David Kinnamen

Big Questions, Worthy Dreams by Sharon Parks


Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to provide resources to parents and churches as they seek to help emerging adults.

Building A Great Men’s Ministry (Part 1)

2 May


Does your church have a men’s ministry?

If you do, is it thriving? If you don’t, do you wish that you had one?

I am by no means an expert, but I have been a part of a number of churches over the years and have seen a number of men’s ministries from the inside and the outside. Here are some of the common ingredients to the good ones that I’ve seen throughout the years… Continue reading


Watch Me

7 Apr

Using audio from Don Carson, this short video challenges us from the Bible how we must be sharing our lives, opening up the Bible and changing generations as we point them to Jesus.

T-Ball, Here I Come!

6 Apr


Recently, I became a manager.  I became the manager of the Instructional League Red Sox.  My son, Caedmon, is playing this year for the first time.  I have worked with him in the yard for the past couple of years.  He does pretty well hitting the ball and I am excited to see him on the field for the first time.

I grew up with a love for the game.  My dad instilled that love into me.  He always loved baseball and he passed that love down to me.  I played all my life and was blessed enough to play through college.  I always said that I would never coach my kids’ baseball teams.  I would rather sit back and watch.  However, while talking with my best friend about this subject, my perspective changed.  Continue reading

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