In her study of faith mentoring, Sondra Higgins Matthaei writes, “On occasions when I mapped my life journey, I noticed a significant person stood beside me at each turning point”1. Another study found beneficial impacts of a mentoring program upon a faith community’s theological teaching 2. Yet another study found that a church based mentoring program positively impacted mentees’ spiritual formation and leadership3.
In a mentoring program Dr. Kranzler recently ran at a parochial school, there were no elements of religious instruction involved in the program. Yet after the program, 50% of the mentees reported that having a mentoring relationship with another member of their faith made them want to be more connected to their faith and 62.5% reported that the relationship made them want to be more connected to fellow members of their faith. This finding was replicated in a second mentoring program run in a parochial school which produced a desire to be more connected to faith in 60% of the mentees.
These findings simply added to the gains found in social interactions, better attitudes towards school, improvements in self esteem and improvements in effort within those two parochial school mentoring programs.
In addition, the mentors in these two mentoring programs were positively impacted. In one set of mentors, 50% of the mentors reported wanting to be more connected to their faith as a result of serving as a mentor. In a set of high school mentors, 57.1% reported wanting to be more connected to their faith and 71.4% wanted to be more connected to members of their faith community.
Complementing the spiritual benefits that faith-based mentoring provides are the additional improvements in academic success, behavioral choices, connection to community, goal setting, self esteem, peer and family relationships that mentoring provides in general.
1 Matthaei, S. H. (1991). Faith‐mentoring in the classroom. Religious Education, 86(4), 540-549.
2 Heron, S. J. S., Honours, B. A., & A&C, C. (2008). Mentoring in Christian community: Issues of definition and evaluation. (Unpublished Ph.D. thesis). The Institute of Theology, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland.
3 Lanker, J. (2010). The family of faith: The place of natural mentoring in the church’s Christian formation of adolescents. Christian Education Journal, 7(2), 267.