The summer after my high school graduation, I was approached by the Mission Friends director at my church. She asked if I would be interested in being a helper in one of the classes that would begin in September. As an aspiring elementary teacher, I was thrilled with this prospect and agreed to help.
In the time leading up to my start and continuing on for several years, my mentor did a variety of things which prepared me for my lifelong calling to lead Mission Friends.
The first thing my mentor did was provide me with information and materials. She gave me a copy of the current Mission Friends Leader as well as a variety of WMU preschool resource materials. She showed me some of her favorites and encouraged me to look through them. She answered my questions and helped me understand how to utilize the resources.
A second thing my mentor did was to invite me to observe Mission Friends classes. I was able to see a variety of leaders as well as their individual styles of teaching, leading, and organizing classes. This experience gave me a glimpse into what actually transpired each Wednesday evening and helped affirm my desire to be a part of this ministry.
A third thing my mentor did was to send me to local and state-sponsored WMU conferences where I was able to learn new information and make connections with other Mission Friends leaders. We learned from each other and our experiences. This built a wide support system that has grown and developed over the years.
The fourth, and most important, thing my mentor did was to lead me in growing my personal Christian walk. She prayed with me, encouraged me to study my Bible, and supported me in my life journey. She made me feel important because she invested in me.
This journey with my personal mentor continues today. She is no longer the Mission Friends director at our church (that’s my job now), but she still invests in me. She interacts with my child on a regular basis, always asks what we are doing in Mission Friends, and shows a genuine interest in my life.
My mentor equipped me to be a passionate and effective Mission Friends leader by:
- providing me with information and Mission Friends materials,
- allowing me to observe Mission Friends classes,
- sending me to local and state-led WMU conferences, and
- encouraging me in the growth of my personal Christian walk.
I pray that we, as Mission Friends leaders, can follow this model when mentoring new leaders. By investing in the lives of others and equipping them so they can find a passion and desire to serve and love preschoolers, we will be investing in the future of preschoolers and their development of a healthy missions lifestyle.
by Susan Killen