Personal Story - Mentoring

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 8, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As I pondered on what to write about for this post, a good friend pointed out that I should write about what God is doing through me by way of the ministry of Get REAL inC here in Findlay, OH. At first my response was that I’m not really doing much for the ministry, but as I pondered it more, I realize that God is using me in a bigger way through this ministry.

The ministry of Get Real was started in Indianapolis by an amazing woman named Katie Wolfe, who grew up in the Findlay area. Not too long after it started in Indianapolis, Get Real came to Findlay in 2010. I heard about it through a mutual friend, and since I was just graduating seminary at that time, I was looking for ways to be in ministry. I volunteered at the first event that summer, and got connected with the ministry.

The name of Get Real inC is significant in a few ways. We encourage everyone to be totally real and authentic with each other, because without honesty and vulnerability, you can’t have real relationship. REAL is also an acronym, standing for Respected, Educated, Able, and Loyal - all traits which we women to be, and encourage the girls to be as well. The inC stands for in Christ, not incorporated. The point of Get Real is to be a mentoring ministry for girls in grades 6-12, to connect women to teen girls, to help them learn from each other and grow in Christ together. We meet as a group once a month for what we call a REALity Check. We have food, do some fun games, listen to someone speak, and just hang out together. If girls are in a mentoring relationship with a woman, they would meet more often, maybe each week or every other week, depending on schedules.

In the just over 4 years I’ve been a part of Get Real, I really haven’t participated in the mentoring part. I’ve gone through seasons of life where other commitments prohibited me from even going to the monthly meetings, but I’ve attended when I can. For a few years now, I’ve taken care of the communication for our meetings and events, via email, Facebook, texting, etc.

Now, on to the story part of this post. A few years ago, I was asked by the leaders if I would be a mentor to 3 girls. I said I would do it, and we tried to get that started… and failed. I hadn’t met the girls, but through a few phone conversations I discovered they were all very involved in gymnastics, so between that and school their schedules were pretty full already. I work a full-time job and had a few other things going on outside of work, so my schedule was relatively full too. There just wasn’t a regular time that we could all make work. One of the girls did end up attending a number of REALity Check meetings later on so I did get to know her and her mom, but not the other two.

After that happened, I figured I must not be meant for being a mentor. In talking with the other ladies who lead our local group, they shared how they’ve discovered that “arranged” mentoring situations like that just don’t really work. They said mentoring usually works best when there’s some kind of connection already between the woman and the girl.

Fast forward to this past summer. I was hanging out at one of our REALity Check meetings, and one of our younger girls (she’s 11) started chatting with me. I learned more about soccer than I really wanted to know, but it was really fun talking with her. She was new to Get Real being so young, so I think she appreciated getting to know me a bit too. Over the next couple meetings, we chatted more and got to know each other a little more. It just so happens that I’ve known this girl’s mom for a few years now, as she had previously helped out with one of our big events. So we already had that connection, and now that the daughter and I had connected a few times, a mentoring relationship seems to be starting to form. In the last couple months, I’ve taken her to a local Youth Theater play, hung out with her at a local concert event, and gone to her ice skating show. She and I have similar aspects to our backgrounds, having both been raised in the church and Christian families. I find it’s nice to be with someone who shares that with me, and she’s just fun to hang out with too.

Am I “officially” mentoring her? Not at this time, but that’s still a possibility. I’m currently working through how to move forward with this, and figuring out God’s direction. My schedule is quite full with my job and ministries I’m involved in, plus trying to schedule in some down time too, and I don’t want mentoring to be a “have to” but rather a “want to” - something that just naturally happens rather than forcing it. I appreciate the structure of a program like Get Real to provide us time to hang out together, and I hope we can continue building our relationship outside of those meetings too.

Whether it’s called mentoring or discipleship, living out this idea is so vitally important! Looking back at my life, I’ve had so many people who have come alongside me and supported me, that I want to do the same for others. Everyone needs someone to encourage them and help them go through life, and we are called to do this by Jesus himself (see our posts on discipleship here and here for more on this).

What are you doing in your life to sink into someone else? How are you walking through life with others in a mentoring or discipleship sort of relationship - whichever side of that you may be on?