This past fall National YoungLives set out to measure the impact of the YoungLives ministry on Teen moms. They hired a Professional Researcher to create a survey that was given to 2000 moms that attend YoungLives across the country. We received the results of the Survey and the biggest thing that stood out to me as a YoungLives Coordinator was the impact that having a mentor has on teen moms.
In YoungLives we use the term Mentor. A Mentor is a YoungLives Leader that has entered into a mutually agreed upon relationship with a girl. This relationship is characterized by being consistent and typically the Mentor has helped her mentee identify goals that she would like help working toward. Mentors and girls work on areas such as, parenting, education, life skills, and relationships. We have often questioned what the impact of the mentoring relationship is. The attached graphic shows that teen moms with mentors are more likely to
• Pray Regularly
• Have decided to follow Jesus
• Greater sense of Hope
• Higher Self Worth
• Believe it is important to avoid getting Pregnant
• Less chance of losing control when disciplining
Simply stated, Mentors are the Heart of YoungLives. Since this role has such an important impact it is important that there is a someone within the Area who's specific job is to care for Mentors. This can be 1 person or a team of people that train and support the mentors. This is often the YoungLives Coordinator but, it can also be someone else who is trained and supervised by the Coordinator. Below are some useful steps for Mentor Care.
● Plan regular monthly mentor meetings. This is essential for ministry health and mentor longevity! Adequate training and clearly defined roles/expectations help to alleviate anxiety.
● Pay attention to what topics your mentors need – being sensitive and in the trenches with them will enable you to meet their needs in this area.
● Spice things up! Bring in guest speakers/experts in specific topics.
● Set apart time at meetings for mentors to share life and ministry issues/concerns.
● Mentors will learn on¬the¬job at YoungLives events. Model what you want them to learn.
● Help bridge the gap between mentors and teen moms – make connections early on. Then be
consistent in calling and keeping up with their relationship with their teen mom.
● Invite mentors to participate in local and regional Young Life/YoungLives training events. This
will show them the bigger picture and increase their passion for ministry.
● Ensure that everyone feels included and useful. Help them find something they can take
ownership of (as simple or vast as it may be – club cards and database, photographer,
birthday cards).They must feel needed and seen...or they will disappear.
● Make sure that their role is clear and check in with them to make sure that they don’t feel like
they are carrying too much or not enough responsibility.
● Make communication between mentors accessible and a priority – praying for each other, carrying each others’ burdens, rejoicing together.
● Set up a new mentor with a long¬term mentor to begin a relationship over coffee.
● Plan occasional just¬ for¬ fun activities with your mentors and their families.
● Remind them often of your shared vision, calling, and passion. When you all share the vision,
there is a sense of camaraderie and trust. Everyone is in it together!
● Celebrate together outside of YoungLives (Christmas party, dinners, coffee, birthdays) .
● Participate in events with your local Young Life community.
● Do contact work with mentors – pursue them in the same way you want them to pursue teen moms.
● Spend one¬on¬one time with them.
● Use cards, emails, phone calls, and gifts to thank and encourage them.
● Make sure to know about their lives and care about who they are as a person, not just as a
● Remember mentors’ birthdays with a call, card, or small gift.
● Faithfully and consistently pray for your mentors.
● Set up a way to recognize longevity in YoungLives annually.
● Communicate goals for each year, where we have been...where we are...and where we are going.
● Make sure they are updated with what is going on in the ministry.
● Be approachable and assure mentors that they can come to you with any concerns, and
receive any criticism from them with humility.
Give Them Grace
● See them through the eyes of Jesus.
● Realize we are all learning, striving, and growing.
● Do not allow your expectations of who they should be overshadow who God has made them
● Allow them the freedom to “mess¬up” and then be their biggest fan!
Give Them Truth
● Do not be fearful to speak hard things when God leads you.
● Stand strong in the vision God has set before you.
● Do not compromise when you know what God has said, yet lead as a humble servant of
Jesus – this can only be done through the Spirit.
Give Them Jesus
● Ultimately, there is nothing besides love for and obedience to Jesus that will give your mentors the desire to push on and love when it is hard.
● Remind mentors that Christ is the source of our strength ¬ not us (doing things out of the flesh leads to burnout).
● Make Him the center of EVERYTHING!
● Always place their heart and their relationship with Jesus before their role in YoungLives.