Why You Need a Mentor Who Is M.O.R.E.

I am eager to introduce you to the woman who has mentored me for more than twenty years. Actually, you may already know her. It’s Dannah Gresh, co-author of Lies Young Women Believe. She’s been speaking truth into my life since I was a teenager (even before she ever wrote a single book).

Dannah became my mentor more than twenty years ago, when I was just fifteen years old (I’ll do the math for you, I am thirty-six). At the time, Dannah and her husband, Bob, worked with the youth at my church. She helped me navigate the waters of dating, college searches, and the friend drama of the teen years. Later she helped me learn what it meant to be a new wife, a writer, and a mature Christian. Currently, she is my sounding board as I seek to be a godly momma and girls’ ministry leader. Through many moves and changes, her consistent godly guidance has made a huge difference in my life. In fact, my relationship with her has been my primary inspiration to constantly seek to mentor others.

When I decided to blog about mentoring, I knew I had to pick Dannah’s brain. So I interviewed her on our mentor/mentee relationship as well as the concept of mentoring in general. Check it out.

Erin: Help me remember, did I seek out a mentor relationship with you or did you seek out the relationship with me?

Dannah: I don’t remember. But I had been asking God to help me find women to mentor. I was thinking adult women. But He had other things in mind. It was like an itch I couldn’t scratch. I didn’t know much more than that I desired to mentor. I realize now that God created us to be in community and that community should include advisors to our spiritual life pressing us further in and we should be advising. In the Scriptures it is called discipling.

Erin: What was your strategy for mentoring me (and other girls) during that season?

Dannah: I don’t know that you need a strategy to get started. You just need a willing heart. We are called to go into all the world and make disciples (Matt. 28:19). It starts with a willing heart. I didn’t have much more than that then. But if there is one thing that I think made our relationship work, it would be this—transparency.

You were transparent with me about everything going on in your life. Good, bad, indifferent. I was transparent with you about my life. I don’t think mentoring works if the mentor thinks themselves above transparency. While there may be a level of what is appropriate and some wisdom is to be used by the mentor, over all there should be a flavor of their life being open to their disciple. A disciple learns as much from observation as from point blank words.

Erin: What are the benefits of a one-on-one mentoring relationship as opposed to the group discipleship we get in church or youth group?

Dannah: You get much deeper. And you can confess things that you shouldn’t in a group. For example, if you and a boyfriend are crossing boundaries, you should tell someone. If you and your mom are fighting a lot, you should tell someone. But these are things you might not want to share in a group. You and I got really close—much closer than with most of the other girls in our youth group at the time because we shared the hard stuff with each other. (And you made me chocolate chip cheesecake, so that made me really like you!)

I also believe a benefit of mentoring is healing. I think of James 5:16, which says, “Confess your sins one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” I think the closer relationship of one-on-one mentoring allows for greater healing to take place because of the transparency. When someone really knows your junk and they still love you, you heal. It is like a little dose of God’s grace in your life.

Erin: What should girls look for in a mentor?

Dannah: In And the Bride Wore White, I wrote that a mentor should be M.O.R.E.

M stands for “making right choices today.” That does not mean she has lived a sinless, flawless life, but the flavor of her life today is righteous.

O stands for “older and wiser.” A lot of teens get into peer relationships and think that is a mentoring relationship. It’s not. They need to be older so they cannot get caught up in the peer pressure.

R stands for “readily accessible.” You can’t mentor by email and phone. It has to be a relationship that you bump into a lot!

E stands for “excited to mentor.” That’s probably the one you should look for first. Someone who is excited to spend time with you.

Erin: Any specific guidelines you would encourage readers to establish with their mentors?

Dannah: It depends on the level of mentoring and the need in your life. I remember, Erin, at times you and I met weekly and the relationships in your life were so crazy that we needed to do that. Then at other times we were more casual about it. The Lord will guide you in how often to get together. The other thing to consider is that you need to be willing to let your mentor ask you anything and answer it honestly. I loved that with you.

It’s Your Turn

My relationship with Dannah started when I was a teenager and has had a huge impact on me well into my adult years. At the time, I just thought I was grabbing coffee with a godly older woman. I was a new Christian and wanted to know more about His Word. But God used that relationship to plant seeds that have grown into a forest of truth in my life. I want the same for you!

I’ve introduced you to my mentor; now I’d love to meet yours. Do you have an older Christian woman who regularly has access to your life? Tell me about her below. If you don’t, what’s holding you back?

PS: Be sure to hop back on the blog tomorrow for a chance to win Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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  • Natalie

    I had a strong, godly mentor during high school, but not since starting college. I miss that figure in my life terribly. My bible study/ small group is mixed, so there is certainly a lot that I’d never tell. Likely not even to an all girl group. What I do have is an accountability partner (who also struggles with similar sins/obsticals), but she’s the same age as I. It’s often a struggle to help each other because we have the same general perspective and lack the insight of an older woman. How would you recommend seeking out an accountability partner? One slightly older (6 years) woman in my small group is a close friend and I’d like to ask her, but she has just started to mentor a new believer in my church. I don’t want to overwelhm her. Yet it strikes me as odd to ask a woman with whom I’m not very close to mentor me. I’ve not yet actively prayed about this, but I’ll start now. Thank you for the encouraging suggestion!

  • Victoria

    This is beautiful and sounds a lot like the relationship I have with a woman at my church. I have been looking to begin mentoring relationships with the younger girls in my youth group, so my mentor is helping me set up a girls ministry and I have been praying for God to guide me and the girls who need me most. The thing is, I’m graduating this year and I dont know where I want to go after high school, and so I feel like I’m running out of time. Anyway, I have loved the posts about mentorship these past few day, they’re just what I needed. I even shared one with a friend who on Sunday said, “I’m not qualified to mentor!” Thanks for being an encouragement each week!

  • Kristine

    I used to have a relationship like that, but we only talked at church because we lived about an hour apart. Then we moved…. Now she hasn’t responded to my emails in a while and we can’t see each other.
    It’s hard at a new church to open up to a lady. How do you know WHO is godly and who is just acting godly? How do you put trust into someone you barely know?! It’s hard. I don’t have anyone I can do that with it seems. Any advice?
    Should I just focus on mentoring my younger sisters and girls in our church?
    All suggestions appreciated!

    • Having someone investing in your life as a mentor is just as much of a blessing as investing in other’s lives. You bring up some good questions, Kristine! If you haven’t had time to really get to know someone to be able to see if they walk their talk, then you can certainly approach your pastor to see if he could recommend someone to you. He will have known them longer and will have the discernment to know who is a godly older woman. I’ve paused and prayed for you and asked God to bring someone special into your life as a mentor – someone you can trust and who will challenge you, support you and keep you pointed toward Christ.

  • Mandy

    Such an amazing post, loved every word of it!
    I knew my (now) mentor relatively well through some of my family and she was also a member of my church, and she became my mentor shortly before my baptism. I’ve been lucky enough to have her love and guidance in my life for the last 6 years. She’s about 12 years older then me and she is so fun! She’s been the type of mentor who just lives out her love for Jesus and I’m having the honor of learning by watching her live life! She’s upbeat and not afraid to talk about the hard stuff. I think the thing I love most about her is that she doesn’t beat around the bush, and she’s never shied away from mentoring correction into my life when I’ve needed it. She has had a HUGE impact on me, and I wouldn’t be the Christian I am today without her!

  • Judith

    Very insightful post. Living out our God- given role as women is such a beautiful thing! Much appreciated! Reminds me of the verse, ” He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companions of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 So true.

  • Janet Thompson

    Hi Erin, I just saw this blog on Dannah’s FB page. My name is Janet Thompson and I’m the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring. I love to hear mentoring stories like yours! Wish I had known about your story when I was writing my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness releasing 9/17 (Leafwood Publishers). It’s a book for mentors and mentees from tweens to death. Maybe I can do a guest blog post for you in the fall. Blessings on your ministry. Janet Thompson http://www.womantowomanmentoring.com

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Hi, Janet,

      I’m responding on Erin’s behalf. We appreciate learning of your upcoming book and are thankful for your heart for mentoring.

      We appreciate too your interest in writing for the LYWB blog. You’re welcome to submit the following to Erin, at erin@erindavis.org.

      1. 5 posts
      2. A bio
      3. A headshot

      Erin will respond to your request as she is able. We trust you’ll understand Erin’s response time will reflect her schedule as a wife, mom, author, blogger, and speaker.

      Grace and peace,
      Carrie Gaul
      Lies Young Women Believe

  • Grace S.

    Hi, I read this post and I’m inspired by what a mentor and a mentee relationship should be like. I have not a mentor yet, and one of the reasons why is I think that I struggle trusting someone or sharing what I have going on in my life (it’s easy when i’ve gotten pass it or that everything’s ok at the time, but it’s hard when i’m going through an ordeal or internal struggle). I am praying for it though.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Praying with you today, Grace S.

      You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips (Psalm 21:2).