The Eternal Impact of Mentoring

September 7, 2023 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Jo Ann Fore  

A youthful woman stood to her feet in the crowded room. With a modern British accent, she exclaimed, “I just came because my friend brought me here tonight. I was raised Catholic, and my dad insisted I get down on my knees and pray…so, now, I don’t pray and I don’t want to be prayed for.”

The young newlywed was one of many women who attended an orientation coffee sponsored by Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. Participants attended the coffee to gather information on potential mentoring relationships.

Adamantly, the young Brit continued, “I’m not a Christian. I wouldn’t become one for my husband, so what makes you think I’m going to become one for you?”
What a challenge. Mentors—Christian individuals who desire to share their life experiences with others—are often frustrated by preconceived expectations, time commitments, and relational limitations of mentoring relationships. Many wonder if they even make a difference.

Fulfillment from a mentoring relationship is hoped for, but not always seen. Janet Thompson, author of Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry (Lifeway Press), understands.

Thompson recently celebrated her tenth year of Woman to Woman Mentoring at Saddleback Church. ( Hundreds of churches around the world have followed Thompson’s format to incorporate mentoring programs.

“Mentors sometimes get discouraged. They become disheartened when they don’t see their mentee doing the work,” Thompson shares.  When the mentors feel like giving up, Thompson reminds them, “Congratulations, you’ve got a real life mentee. Remember, if she had it all together, she wouldn’t need mentoring!”

Thompson appreciates the impact of a mentor in one’s life. A spiritual orphan as a young child, it was the women of the church—Sunday school teachers—who influenced her with guidance, mercy, and love.

“My father was a highway patrolman who was murdered while on duty. My mom just shut down. She felt no just God would do this to a man who was only trying to protect his community.” Ten-year-old Thompson painfully watched her mother grow bitter, angry, and cold.

“We were like orphans of the church. She (Mom) would drop us off at church on Sunday morning; go do her shopping and pick us up, or neighbors would take us.”

The women of the church gathered around Thompson and spiritually grounded her. Later connecting with a youth-camp counselor who addressed the pain of losing her earthly father, she opened her heart to the Lord.

“Parenting is a sacrifice, but a sacrifice that not every parent is willing to make. And that’s where Christians need to step in,” admonishes Thompson. “There is a different dynamic that happens one-to-one that doesn’t happen in a group setting – at any level.”

The young British mentee uncovered this truth. She agreed to meet with a woman who was from a Catholic background, and of international descent. The mentor consistently extended love, mercy and grace. After a period of regularly meeting with her mentee, she invited her to a class at church.

After several months, the mentor watched the mentee give her heart to the Lord—during the class.

Don’t allow a lack of immediate results in a mentoring relationship discourage you. Your role is vital. Mentoring is a Biblical mandate that doesn’t change over the years.  The Lord repeatedly told one generation to teach and train the next (Ps 145:4-7, Titus 2:1-5).

At times, God allows a sneak preview of your eternal impact.

One day the young British woman burst into the class room. “You won’t believe what my husband got me for our first anniversary,” she erupted in a joyful glee.  The mentor, and the crowd of women gathered around, anticipating the unveiling of a diamond necklace or something.

“It’s my first Bible!” Her hair flew across her face as she thrust the Bible in the air.

Her mentor, through misty eyes, exclaimed, “I feel like my work on earth is fulfilled.”

Certified Life Purpose Coach®, Jo Ann Fore, celebrates the impact of mentors. Visit Jo Ann at or email her at


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