Practical Mentoring Ideas

If the adult says, “I have no more time to invest”:

  • -Add specific young people to your personal prayer list and pray faithfully for them.
  • -Begin a non-threatening conversation with young people in the church foyer.
  • -Greet teenagers and young adults with a big smile and handshake.
  • -Ask them for a prayer request and then pray for them right then.
  • -Share a blessing or prayer request with them.
  • -Sit near young people in church services.
  • -Offer to take them with you on an errand.
  • -Ask key young people to help you with a project.
  • -Invite them to your home for a meal.
  • -Meet them at a restaurant. (You have to eat, anyway.)
  • -Give them something meaningful to you (like a book or CD).
  • -Sponsor them financially for a youth group activity, missions trip, etc.

If the adults say, “I have about 15 minutes a week.”:

  • Write them a note of encouragement.
  • Send an e-mail or text message.
  • Give them a quick phone call.
  • Offer to drive them home from youth group, church, or an activity. (Make sure to follow your church’s “child protection policy”.)
  • Initiate one-on-one conversations before or after services.
  • Brag on the young person to their parents.
  • Pray for a specific need every day.
  • Compliment them in front of someone else.
  • Congratulate them on a recent accomplishment.

If the adults say, “I have 30 minutes a week.”

  • Discuss your devotions together.
  • Go to 30 minutes of an event (sports, drama, music, etc.).
  • Offer to drop in to see them in youth group.
  • Meet them in a non-threatening location for accountability or prayer.
  • Drop in on them at work (if appropriate).
  • Pray for their specific needs each day.
  • Provide transportation to and from an activity or work. (Make sure to follow your church’s “child protection policy”.)
  • Memorize a passage of Scripture together.
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If the adults say, “I have 2 hours a week.”

  • -Find something you have in common and do that together.
  • -Visit in the students’ homes. (Make sure to follow your church’s “child protection policy”.)
  • -Invite them to an evening in your home.
  • -Take them out to eat.
  • -Take their parents out to dinner.
  • -Help them with homework.
  • -Do a service project, ministry, hobby, or craft together (golf, crafts, working on cars, etc.).
  • -Pop a bag of popcorn and hang out.
  • -Go shopping together.
  • -Wash and wax their car.
  • -Listen to music or Podcasts together.
  • -Discuss a spiritual or theological question & search the Scriptures for the answer.
  • -Go on a simple activity together (miniature golfing, bowling, etc.).
  • -Have a Bible study.
  • -Take a gift to a needy friend together.

If the adults say, “I have 4 hours a week.”

  • -Play a round of golf – or do another activity together.
  • -Go on a hike.
  • -Go to a ball game or musical concert (let them select the artist).
  • -Make a video.
  • -Volunteer at a mission.
  • -Read/discuss a Bible study book.
  • -Teach the young person a new skill.
  • -Give emerging adults the opportunity to teach you something new.
  • -Participate in a church work day together.

If the adults say, “I have 10 hours a week.”

  • -Go on a camp-out. (Again, Make sure to follow your church’s “child protection policy”.)
  • -Clean/organize something together.
  • -Paint or build something together.
  • -Wash and clear the pastor’s car.
  • -Organize a food drive and deliver to a needy family.
  • -Start a new ministry at church together.

About the Author:

Mel Walker

About The Author

My 40-plus years of involvement in youth ministry has led me to the conviction that impacting emerging generations is essential for both Christian families and the church. As Christ followers we each have the responsibility to reproduce our faith in the lives of the next generations – and I’m saying that both to parents and pastors and other church leaders. They are our kids, and we must take the responsibility to intentionally encourage them for long-term spiritual maturity.