Spiritual Development

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • What ages are your children and how would you assess them spiritually right now? What have they been learning lately?
    • How do their lives reflect what they say they believe?
    • How often do you pray for/with your children? In what setting?
    • How involved are you in a local church where your children can grow?
    • In what ways do you believe children benefit if they are raised to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength?
    • What type of people do you want your children to become?  What specific character qualities would you like to teach them?
    • Do you schedule regular family time and devotionals? What does that look like from a practical standpoint?
    • Did your parents train you up spiritually?  What did they do that you’d like to imitate as a parent now?  What would you like to do better?
    • Are you sharing your personal spiritual growth and heart with your kids? (1 Thessalonians 2:8)
    • What books or other resources have you read to make you a better spiritual leader of your kids?  Are you open to suggestions?
    • What’s one step you can take today to do a better job of training your children spiritually?
    • How can I as your mentor help to encourage you today?
Deeper Questions
    • What communication habits have you established with your kids?
    • How are you modeling godliness and integrity?
    • Do you spend regular time with the Savior personally?  You can’t impart what you do not possess!
    • Do you realize that as a parent you are a disciple maker?  Do you have a clear understanding of what a disciple is?
    • Are you being careful to grow your children in God’s image?  How are you planning to go about doing that?
    • Are you and your spouse united in the discipleship plan for your kids?  What is your plan?
    • What materials are you reading to improve your knowledge?  Are you open to learning more?
    • Do you spend quantity time with your kids or bursts of quality time?  Experience shows that opportunities for impacting kids come in the context of quantity time.
    • What outside influences are either reinforcing or counteracting your spiritual guidance (e.g. friends, grandparents, media)?
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  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Parenting Today’s Adolescent, p. 60-61

    “We often get too excited about the wrong things.  Sure, the touchdown or basket scored in the ball game is worth cheering.  But what should get us up for a standing ovation are those choices our children make that reveal their convictions and character.  Trophies tarnish; character doesn’t.  Character glistens.  Character is what lasts into the next generation.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p. 26

    “As your children see you meeting your need for love, purpose, and hope through your abiding relationship with Christ, your example will put power and authenticity behind your words.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p. 220

    “Grace-based families realize that their children will struggle with sin.  They consider it an honor to be used by God to show their children how to find true forgiveness in Christ.  They are not intimidated by the dialogue that brings the discussion of sin into the light.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p. 240

    “Raising spiritually passionate kids who have a strong belief system is not formulaic.  You have to deal with a child’s abstract emotions and fickle heart.  Your children’s relationships with God can’t simply be programmed by their environment.”

  • - Robert Lewis, Raising a Modern-Day Knight, p. 69

    “Every young man needs a comprehensive view of life that begins with this fundamental proposition: True satisfaction in life is directly proportionate to one’s obedience to God.  In this context, moral boundaries take on a whole new perspective: They become benefits, not burdens.”

  • - Robert Lewis, Raising a Modern-Day Knight, p. 72

    “We often view spiritual training as an event.  God expands it to include a lifestyle!  The father who has committed himself to these ideals and has placed them upon his own heart is continually looking for opportunities to teach them to his son.”

  • - Lou Priolo, Pleasing People, p. 75

    Can you imagine how impervious to influence our children would be if they feared God more than they feared the rejection of their peers?  I am persuaded that the single best way for Christian parents to insulate their children against peer pressure is to teach them how to identify and dethrone the idol of man’s approval and to replace it with an intense desire for God’s approval.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, p. 17

    “There are many ways to show your family that you are serious about following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, but two in particular really count: Admitting your mistakes and asking for forgiveness when you mess up in a relationship—especially with one of your children.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Growing a Spiritually Strong Family, p. 62

    “Do you see yourself as a trainer of disciples?  If not, here’s why you should: You have been called to ‘make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19).  And in making disciples, your family is your number one responsibility.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p. 107

    “Childhood is a time when we should move our children from a position of dependence on us to a position of independence from us and toward dependence on God.  When they are young, we protect them since they are helpless, but as they grow older, we move from protecting them to preparing them.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Parenting Today’s Adolescent, p. 23

     “Sometimes in the early teens, spiritual erosion can occur, and often there is an emotional drift towards isolation.  The teenager naturally pushes away from his parents, and if the parent allows his child to push him out of his life, the child will end up in a vulnerable place: overly influenced by peers.”

  • - Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, p. 72

    “Let’s rethink this matter of getting your children saved.  Perhaps one of the problems with this perspective is that it looks for a major spiritual event of salvation and misses the spiritual process of nurturing your children.  It is your task to faithfully teach them the ways of God.  It is the Holy Spirit’s task to work through the word of God to change their hearts. Even when the Spirit illuminates and quickens them to life, it is a life of progressive growth.”

  • - Ted Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, p. 127

    “Children are not born morally and ethically neutral.  The Bible teaches that the heart is ‘deceitful and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9).  The child’s problem is not an information deficit.  His problem is that he is a sinner.”

  • - Howard Dayton, Your Money Map, p. 217

    “Nothing influences children more than watching parents live out what they believe.  That’s especially true in the area of finances.  Your kids watch how you spend money, pick up on your attitudes toward buying on credit, and observe your patterns of giving and saving.  What you do with the money must be consistent with what you say about it.  Your children are listening and watching you.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p. 9

    “The proof that any model of parenting is effective is not how the parents and children get along.  It isn’t even how well they treat and respect each other after they are all grown up.  Even nonreligious families can accomplish this.  The real test of a parenting model is how well-equipped the children are to move into adulthood as vital members of the human race.”

Next Steps
    • Encourage them with Scriptures of hope and help
    • Encourage them to remember that they didn’t grow up with perfect parents and their children will not have perfect parents either!
    • Encourage them to get involved in a local, bible-believing church for spiritual growth and accountability as parents
    • Let them know they are not alone, parenting can be frustrating and confusing for many parents
    • Assure them that you care about them and plan to be with them to find solutions together
    • Encourage moms to connect with other moms on the MomLife Today blog
    • Encourage dads to consider connecting with other men in a Men’s Fraternity group
    • Encourage them to pray with their children at all ages
    • Encourage them to model obedience and humility by admitting their own mistakes in parenting
    • Remind them that building a good relationship with their kids is a necessary first step to training them spiritually
    • Remind them that it is important to develop a vision and strategy for the kind of people you want your children to become
    • Encourage them (along with their spouse) to develop a parenting mission statement to guide parenting decisions
    • Encourage them to take responsibility for the spiritual development of their children and to not leave it up to others
    • Remind them that it is important to model Christian principles in addition to teaching them
    • Encourage them to look to God’s Word for principles to address problem’s their children face or decisions to be made
    • Encourage them to read and learn and grow personally by utilizing the resources offered by FamilyLife