What is a Mentor and Why Do I Need One?

What is a Mentor and Why Do I Need One?

ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

PROVERBS 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

ROMANS 15:14 “I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”

The concept of mentorship is something we see all throughout the Bible, even if the word “mentor” is never used. Jesus mentored his disciples, demonstrating through his actions how to live out the values of the Kingdom of Heaven, teaching them through stories and explanations, and finally sending them out to put into practice what he had taught them. Relationships are the primary way that God has taught and led his people all throughout the ages.

Anyone can benefit from having a mentor, no matter how old or young you are, there is always much to be gained by learning from another person! If you’ve ever asked someone for advice, that was a taste of mentoring right there. We sometimes think of a mentor as being a perfect, Yoda-like figure, but in reality, a mentor is just a person like you, flaws and all. However, a mentor is someone in whom you’ve recognized maturity, knowledge, wisdom, and a heart to teach and guide others. In short, a mentor is someone with whom you have a trusting relationship and who shares advice, experience, and encouragement. For example, mentors can be family members, pastors, teachers, friends, internship leaders, neighbors, members of your church, or anyone else that you know.

When I was serving overseas in Berlin, Germany through GoCorps, I was assigned a mentor to coach me throughout the process of adjusting and thriving. At first, I was very resistant to this, but my mentor was patient with me and we eventually formed a great relationship. She was a fountain of knowledge and advice, but she was also deeply committed to always being curious and learning. In our conversations, I got incredible advice that was sometimes very practical and tangible and sometimes very spiritual and wise. However, my mentor was also interested in me and as we got to know each other better, I was able to share new things with her. Thanks to my mentor, I was able to better invest in the ministry work that I was doing and I felt more comfortable and at home. My mentor introduced me to new parts of the city and gave me good advice as I dealt with a few different cultural differences that were leading to conflict. I also enjoyed getting to share things that I loved with her, like different kinds of dance and music. This mentor and I no longer have a formal mentor-mentee relationship, but we still stay in touch and I will always be grateful for the important role she played in my life during that season.

Thanks to my mentor, I was able to better invest in the ministry work that I was doing and I felt more comfortable and at home.

College is a great opportunity to benefit from a mentor. You’re likely surrounded by people who want to help you grow and develop as a person and you’ve set aside about four years to do just that! But how do you know what kind of mentor is right for you? In the rest of this blog series about mentoring, we’ll talk about different types of mentors, how to find a mentor, and hear from someone who is a mentor about their experiences and advice!

Did you know that mentorship is one of the core values of GoCorps? No matter which of our 100+ placements you choose, you’ll have a mentor on the field to help you transition into ministry in your unique context. During the application process, you’ll also be mentored by our Placement Coaches. The GoCorps Coaches are kind of like professional mentors who will get to know you and help guide you through the process of discerning what God is calling you to do. Interested in talking with a Coach now? Fill out the inquiry form here.


Melody is a GoCorps alum who lived in Berlin, Germany for two years doing arts ministry. Now she is a GoCorps coach and mobilizer and loves talking with students about how God can use their passions and skills in overseas ministry. Melody lives in northern Virginia with her husband and giant fluffy dog and loves to read, dance, and drink chai lattes!