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Mentor Matching Programs


Originally featured at Christianmommies.org, February 2006
An Interview with Dionna Sanchez, founder of Emphasis On Moms
Based on the Women's Ministry Survey Results
Interviewed by: Rachel @ Christian Mommies

Q: What inspired you to create a mom mentoring program over the Internet?

A: The thought to create an online Mom Mentoring Network rumbled around in my heart for over a year. The notion kept coming back to me when I would have subscribers email me sharing what was going on in their lives or prayer requests that they had. And I just so wanted to help them but was not knowledgeable in all of the areas that these women were going through. Then, finally, when the idea just wouldn't leave me - I felt that it was something I needed to put into action.

Q: How does it work?

A: Basically, a mom will email me with a request to be mentored. It could be in any kind of area where she feels she needs comraderie, support, or encouragement. It could be something serious like an impending divorce, a rape, dealing with a husband who is on drugs or something more "daily" in her life like christian homemaking, organization, enforcing rules with her children, etc.

Then, I turn to my "Mentor List" which is a resource I have on hand of Christian women who have told me they would be willing to mentor another mom via email. These women have told me what they have gone through and in what areas they are willing to mentor in... so that I can more readily match them up. I go to the list, find a mom in that category and ask if she is available to mentor. If so, I give her the woman's email address and they start corresponding one another at that point.

Q: Is it important for Christian organizations and their leaders to be involved in this area of service? Do many Christian mentoring ministries exist?

A: To be honest, I did not do any research to find out what other mentoring resources were available out there. I just knew I wanted to start one - I also knew if there were others out there that they were not easily known or accessible because I hadn't run into any.

I think it is a command for Christians to mentor one another. It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are now doing." We are to take care of each other and help one another on the road of life. That being said, there are different types of Christian organizations that can meet different needs. I don't think all of them are equipped or called to have a mentoring program, but if they are not, they should have resources on hand where they could direct people. They should be ready to personally mentor someone one-on-one if that need arises.

Q: What would you recommend to a church that wants to incorporate a mentor matching program into their women's ministries, or better yet, as part of their outreach efforts?

A: I would recommend first and foremost that the church pray about who it puts in charge of a mentoring program. It needs to be someone who is dedicated, organized, and compassionate. It also needs to be someone who can keep people's personal needs confidential.

When the program gets started it is vital that all those who participate do so, willingly. No one should ever be forced or it won't work. And the women need to be consistent in keeping the lines of communication open. If the woman mentoring is doing all she can to encourage the women needing mentoring but getting no response....it won't work. And, if the woman who needs to be mentored is desperately desiring and seeking help to grow but her mentor is too busy or only contacts her sporadically, it also won't work. Consistent communication is the key. Also, the women who are willing to mentor have a great responsibility on their shoulders. They need to be great listeners above all. And they need to know how to encourage, when a problem is too great for them to handle so they can get more professional guidance and advice, and to keep God as the ultimate advisor ~ letting all of their advice come from Him and offering lots of love in the process. Sometimes that is what these women need the most... a listener and someone to love them and tell them they are not crazy, they are not stupid, and they are not alone.

Q: As a ministry, and perhaps speaking for all Christians serving by running mentoring programs, what needs do you have?

A: Like most organizations, I always need help. Women come to me in spurts needing mentors but it takes a lot of time to email everyone and make sure people are connecting okay. I always, always need more mentors. Inevitably, someone always comes to me in an area where I don't have a mentor and then I have to search high and low to try and find someone to help them. I need a ready supply of Godly women who are ready and willing to email another mom and encourage her in areas that they have already navigated with God's help.

Special Touches

"There is a great need for discipling among women and it is not always being met. Wounded hearts and disfunctional situations keep women from seeking out close personal relationships with other women and they suffer for it. Me Skills is an opportunity to enter into a discipling relationship on a virtual basis. For many women, the healing and growth they find will be a first step towards taking their place in the local Body of Christ."
- Kelly McCausey, Me Skills

"Women everywhere are looking for a place where they can share prayer requests and have their questions answered. We at www.christianwomentoday.com have a team of almost 400 online mentors from around the world who will do just that. Day or night, you can go to "Share Your Prayer Concerns" to submit your prayer requests. Your email will be matched with an online prayer mentor who will be in contact with you and pray for you. Perhaps you have a question and don't know who to ask. Visit "Ask Us" and your question will be matched with another woman from our online mentor team who will not only come alongside of you, but who will also pray for you. Or perhaps you are willing to be one of these online mentors. Go to "Prayer Mentor Training" to learn more about becoming a prayer mentor, or "Mentoring" for more information about mentoring."
- Doris Beck, Interactive Manager, TruthMedia Internet Group

 

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