You spend time together as a group. You talk about following Jesus. You encourage each other to confess, repent, and keep pushing forward.
But, even though you do this more intentionally through a small group separate from the larger Sunday congregation, there’s a level of accountability and discipleship that still can’t happen in a larger group setting.
When 1:1 mentorship develops within small groups, the group itself can be strengthened as well as individuals’ relationships with the Lord. Even Jesus had his ministry to the masses, his specific ministry with the twelve disciples, and more ministry with the three closest to him.
Here are three practical ways to encourage 1:1 mentorship within your small group.
1. Talk about it
Sometimes, when people get into small groups, they assume their discipleship and mentorship needs are being met. They can assume the accountability and natural growth from group discussions is enough. And this makes an impact! But, when a group leader reminds the group about the value of intentional, outside-of-group 1:1 mentorship, people can remember the impact of personal accountability and discipleship plans.
Try encouraging 1:1 mentorship in your group by talking about it. Simply bringing up the biblical value and role of deeper mentorship and challenging your group to mentor each other or others outside of the group can be a first step towards this type of life-change.
2. Provide resources
People can be intimidated when they hear the word “mentorship” or even “discipleship.” They might not think they’re qualified. They might never have had a mentor and don’t have an idea of what this relationship is “supposed” to look like. They simply might not know where to start.
Try providing them with resources as they begin their mentorship journey. This could be as simple as a list of questions you’ve found helpful when discipling and mentoring, or it could be more substantial such as a Bible study to work through. Either way, giving practical resources makes a big difference in the effectiveness and confidence of the mentors as they begin.
3. Provide feedback
Checking in on your group’s mentors will help them grow in their mentorship skills so they can be as effective as possible with their mentees. When people know that, as they begin to mentor, they are not alone, this can increase their confidence in wanting to step into such a role. If they know they can trouble-shoot with you as a trusted leader or have consistent suggestions for how to continue to strengthen their mentor/mentee relationship, they can gain courage from this type of support.
Consider having monthly or bi-monthly meetings with your group’s mentors to check in and offer any support or encouragement that might be necessary.
Mentorship is worth it. The type of personal discipleship that comes when we take our small groups and encourage intentional mentorship is powerful as we all seek to follow Christ day by day.