Living in Genuine Community: Initiating mentor relationships

Since I was in college, the idea of having a mentor and being discipled was really emphasized at my Christian college. The idea of “pouring into” younger students and the structure of peer mentoring was set up in our student leadership. I moved up in the levels of leadership and absolutely loved meeting weekly with “my girls” to have deeper spiritual discussions. It really painted a clear picture for me of how discipleship works itself out in reality. Discipleship happens slowly, one day at a time. It may seem small or simple, but the fruit produced is glorious. People grow in the context of a safe, loving, open, and vulnerable relationship where we can share life’s victories as well as internal struggles and failures.

In college, I was a Head Chaplain and was assigned a group of 10 girls that were Chaplains on each dorm floor. We would meet every other week in the garden or a coffee shop or on a comfy couch to talk about recent life events, then go deeper into what the Lord was teaching us. Over the course of a school year, we journeyed with each other in spiritual growth and spurred one another on to pursue the Lord. I always walked away feeling energized and refreshed because I felt like I had connected deeply with someone and shared my heart. I felt seen, known, and loved.

I’ve taken that model, first, into how I did youth ministry when my husband was the youth pastor, then into how I do women’s ministry now that he’s the lead pastor. What a mutual blessing and encouragement to pour out and be poured into! I have continually tried to have younger women in my life who I am intentional about pouring into and influencing. It takes intentionality and setting a schedule. If it doesn’t get on my calendar, it doesn’t happen! I try to focus on 3-5 women at a time for a season. It is better to go deeper with a few than to have shallow relationships with many.

I would not be where I am today without older women taking the time to invest in my life by spending time with me, teaching me, and praying with me. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, there are always younger, or less spiritually mature, women you can take under your wing. You can spur them on in their journey by allowing them an intimate view of your life. Then there are always people around you who have the sweet seasoning of many years of life and ministry and can be a resource of wisdom, knowledge, and experience. As Hosea 6:3 (NLT) says, “Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Let’s do that in the context of close, genuine relationships!

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About Chelsea Hall

Chelsea is a pastor’s wife in Charlottesville, Virginia. She and her husband, Benji, have been in ministry for over 12 years together starting out as youth pastors in 2009 then her husband transitioned to a lead pastor role in 2016. He is now the Associate Pastor of Students and Families at First Baptist Church Park Street. They have four children – Silas (9), Selah (7), Esther (3), and Ellie (1). Chelsea is homeschooling their older two kids for the sixth year while wrangling toddlers, writing, and helping her husband with youth ministry!

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