Take the time you normally eat, shop, or work on a project and spend it doing those things, only do them with your protege. Whether you are working on an Easter musical backdrop, picking up supplies for V.B.S., or cleaning out the ministry's storage cabinet, there is a child that needs your input into his or her life. Invite him or her to come and lend a hand. Make the time fun as well as productive. You'll find that things generally get done faster, there is less stress involved, and you have created the opportunity to influence someone for life. Simply put: spend time with your protege on a regular basis.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13, NIV
In church work, we sometimes feel pressed for time, overwhelmed by deadlines, and even frustrated by a mass-ministry approach. A creative use of time will allow you the opportunity to pour into the life of a young person in a significant way. When you plan your next project or event, try coming up with ways to include the mentoring approach. You and your protege will both be glad you did.
Once you have created the opportunity to spend time with a young life, the next step is to focus on the child. Ask questions about his or her life – his or her dreams, desires, concerns, loves, family members, pets, activities, etc. Show an interest in the person you are with. Only with your genuine outpouring of friendliness and concern will you be able to reap the benefits of the time you have together.
What do you like to hear from others? Maybe how much better they are than you? Or how poorly you performed in a situation? Maybe you'd like them to criticize your hair, clothes, family or friends. If you are like most people, you probably avoid spending a great deal of time with someone who likes to focus on the negative. People like to hear good things about themselves. As a mentor, be careful in your speech. Find reasons to often offer praise to the child in your care. Search for topics you can agree on, and capitalize on those. Let your words be encouraging. Just as a plant thrives when given the nutrients it needs, your young ward will flourish as you supply the positive attention he or she craves.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverb 16:24, NIV
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