Jessica Porr, Monica Miller, Max Janzen, Brayden Thomas and Jasmin Tente eat supper together at the unit house in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo by Susan Nisly.

By Travis Duerksen
Friday, January 18, 2019

NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) – A Service Adventure leader inhabits many roles as the head of their unit household. On any given day, they might serve as the house pastor, teacher, confidant, or (occasionally) fire safety marshal. No matter the occasion, however, the spirit of mentorship is present in each role.  

Service Adventure leaders offered these four tools and a few insights on mentorship they have discovered while sharing daily life with participants. 

1. Commitment to one another  

"Living life together, the good and the bad, is one of the best ways to share the knowledge that God has given me," said Cindy Headings, leader for the Colorado Springs, Colorado, unit. "The way I react to tough situations speaks louder than any lessons I could try to teach."

2. Authenticity  

Monica Miller, leader of the Anchorage, Alaska, unit, thinks of mentoring as a "fluid relationship," where sharing about struggles and offering advice can flow both ways. "When I share some of my shortcomings, [my mentees] are initially surprised," she said. "But they can really give great perspectives."

3. Love  

Cynthia and Roger Neufeld Smith co-lead the Jackson, Mississippi, unit. Roger suggested that mentoring requires a leader to "listen, observe, learn and affirm."  Cynthia believes that meaningful conversations as a mentor rely on timing and commitment. "I don't want fear to keep me from asking tough questions," she said. "I want to give [my mentee] the opportunity to address the biggest and most scary issues of life." She explained that being a mentor is an invitation to reflect on her own beliefs and actions. "Love is the bottom line," she said. "Whatever I do or say, it must be done in love."

4. Prayer  

Headings in Colorado Springs also stressed the focusing power of prayer. "The more I pray specifically for my people, the more the Spirit guides my responses to whatever situation we're talking about."


Travis Duerksen is a writer and multimedia producer for Mennonite Mission Network.



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