“Women spend so much of themselves on behalf of others; it is very appealing to have someone else invest solely in them,” says Katie Thiessen, women’s mentorship ministry leader at North Langley (B.C.) Community Church.
In 2012, NLCC’s mentorship program grew out of a desire to “see women get deeper into their faith,” says founding leader Nancy Graewe.
When she was a new mentee, Thiessen says the most valuable aspect was “that someone else was praying regularly for my life.”
Most of NLCC’s 15 mentees this past year were 25–45 and included newlyweds, new moms, single professionals and women facing a crisis. Surprisingly, the latter is the exception. “Most are simply looking for someone to walk alongside them,” says Thiessen.
Many of the mentees who have joined recently are strong leaders. “They recognize the difficulty in finding support among their peers and the value of learning from someone who has gone before them,” says Thiessen.
To pair up partners that “click,” the mentorship team meets with all applicants to learn their background and needs: is a mentee looking for a fellow parent or professional, a mother figure or a peer? Are they seekers with questions about God? This meeting also confirms a mentee’s commitment. After the meeting, the team asks God to bring a mentor (who may or may not have applied yet) to mind.
The recommended commitment is a face-to-face meeting every two–three weeks and a call or email every week. Because “as women, we can easily just chat over a cup of coffee,” the mentorship team is intentional about reminding both mentors and mentees to “go deep.” Mentors have permission to ask mentees hard questions, but both are responsible for shaping the relationship.
At an annual wrap-up event, participants share their experiences. “We heard women say their faith in God had grown roots,” says Graewe. “Strangers became friends. It was wonderful to see how God knit the partnerships together. Even if the mentorship relationships don’t continue, the friendships do.”
“I long to see people connected in community,” says Thiessen. “It brings me great joy as we take baby steps toward making that a reality in a large church.”