Mentoring Girls 101

Recently I had dinner with a new friend. We discussed all things ministry, church, worship, and dating over some delicious margarita pizza. For a first time get together, we hit it off pretty easily. That’s a blessing in itself because you never know if your first time meeting up with someone is going to be painfully long and awkward, or easy and refreshing. I left feeling refreshed and grateful for the handful of new friends the Lord has blessed me with over the past year and a half.

Among our other topics of conversation, she asked me about mentoring young girls. Basically, she was curious what I had seen work and what hadn’t in my short time in ministry. While I love this question, and actually receive that exact question in my email inbox often, I liken it to parenting. (Since I’m a parent and all, you know.) I’m no expert whatsoever, but I’ve learned that there is no formula, and the experience is different for everyone. However, over the few short years I’ve had the privilege to mentor some young girls, there are a few things that have never fallen short. Because I’m always looking for ideas, and because I don’t mind sharing what I’ve seen be effective, I thought what better way to share than to post a blog.

I know for a fact many of you are doing the thing and have the same question!

I am curious, however, how many of you out there specifically work with high school girls? Whether it be by volunteering at your church or an organization, or those of you who might be on staff at a church serving in some type of girls ministry role. So, let’s consider this post a roll call, a little advice, and a place to give ideas. How does that sound? (Of course, these ideas can really be applied to any mentoring relationship.)

I’ll start by sharing what’s worked for me:

1) Be Real:

I don’t know if you know this, but you may think because of their young age that girls don’t pick up on if you’re faking it or not. But I’m telling you, they know. They pick up on it. They can smell a fake a mile away and they want nothing to do with it. So what does this mean? It means that although you might be their mentor and they the mentee, they want to know you! They want to know that you are not perfect. That you do not have it all together. That you sin. That you don’t always spend an hour in the word each morning. That you get mad and irritated with your family. That you have friend issues. That you are struggling to survive just like them. It means you speak these things to them. Obviously, there is wisdom and discretion in what you share and to what extent and how many details, but that doesn’t mean you can’t own up to your crud, too. It takes two to tango. Take that rare opportunity to learn from them as well!

2) Ask Questions: (Ask hard questions!)

How are you? That’s a very vague and empty question. A question anyone can hide behind. I have learned over the years that the more specific the question, the better and more effective. This actually took me a while to learn and ironically, one girl that I dearly love was always so annoyed when I asked this question that she would ask me what I meant and what did I really want to know? I’m so grateful for her honesty because it broadened my horizon of questions. Asking the hard questions is also vital, because who else is doing it? I think sometimes we don’t want to ask the hard questions because that can get messy, but discipleship is messy. To throw some conversations starters out there, here are some good questions:

– How is your relationship with your friends? Is there any drama or gossip that you need to set straight? (If you have or know a high school girl, I can almost promise you there will be drama of some sort.)
– How is your relationship with your parents? Siblings?
– How is school?
– How is your relationship with your boyfriend? Who’s holding you accountable? What are your boundaries?
– What Bible study are you doing right now?
– Are you harboring any sin? Struggling in secret in any way?

3) Never FORCE them to talk:

While you are there to mentor them, hold them accountable and be real with them, there is nothing worse than someone forcing you to talk. I promise you, over time, they’ll say what they need to say when the Lord gives them the grace to do it. Gently encourage them, for sure, but don’t ever make them feel threatened.

4) Create Safety:

Each girl needs to know that you are a safe person. They need to trust you. Trusting someone takes time, especially if you’re starting this relationship from scratch. This means they are free to tell you anything with zero judgment or condemnation, only grace and love. This goes hand in hand with sharing your life as well. The more you share, the less perfect you are to them, the greater the chances of them opening up to you.

5) Go through a book together:

Sometimes as a high school girl, an older mentor whether it be in college, just out of college or older, can be intimidating. Because of the intimidation, they’re less likely to speak up and just be themselves around you. The book you read together gives you an opportunity to approach certain conversations or topics that could otherwise be awkward or just plain hard. Your book can be your guide. Some great resources for you would be your youth pastor, LifeWay or even Christian Book Distributors.

6) Know what teenage girls struggle with:

This may seem like common sense, but we have to know what we’re dealing with here, what our target audience is. We have to be in the know. While you were once a teenager and have struggled with similar things, because of the rapid speed of technology and the effect it’s had on the way we do things, we need to understand their world. You can be certain a few sensitive areas include: identity, body issues, friendships, dating, family, faith, and all things dealing with relationships whether it be emotional, mental, or sexual. And while we’re at it, you can certainly add in communication these days. How in the world do they communicate besides instant messaging, texting, and any online chatting? It’s a big world out there.

7) Pray with them:

Don’t just pray for them, pray with them. Have you ever denied prayer? I know we all want it and need it, but unfortunately, something about praying out loud for someone on the spot scares us. However, although I sometimes felt awkward as a young girl, nothing meant more to me than the ladies that never let me leave their sight without praying for me. Not only does this teach them how to pray, how to love and what it looks like to be discipled, it also gives them a chance to receive that prayer and those blessings first hand and to hear what you are praying. There is power in prayer. There is power in praying out loud. And there is certainly power in praying with the girls.

8) Listen to them:

This may be the most redundant of all to you, but in all seriousness, the more you give them the time of day and listen to what may seem mundane to you, the more they’ll be willing to tell you. Listen, no one is going to open up to you until they know you care. And not just that you care about the hard, serious things, but that you care about the homework they loathe, and their favorite place to shop. The more you genuinely hear them out without cutting them off, the farther your relationship will go.

9) Do things with them:

One really great way to build a strong relationship is to just do everyday life with them. Go see a movie, take them grocery shopping with you, go shopping together, invite them over for dinner with your family, hang out at the pool, and so on and so forth. It doesn’t always have to be a formal one-on-one get together. In fact, it’s in the “mundane” that real life and real discipleship happens. This is also a really great way for them to see a peak into your real life.

It looks so easy on paper, but mentoring, discipling, however you want to label it is easier said than done. But we were called to make disciples, each and every one of us. I’d love to hear from you guys. Y’all are a wealth of wisdom! What are some things you’ve seen work for you?

Oh, and for a little encouragement, there is truly nothing like investing your time in a young girl, only to watch her go off to college and do the same to the younger girls around her. The Lord doesn’t always allow us to see the fruit of our labor, but when He does, it’s the sweetest, most rewarding gift ever. Your investment will be worth it, dear friend. Do not grow weary in doing good!


108 Responses to “Mentoring Girls 101”

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  1. 1
    Elisabeth says:

    I’m a single 30 year old who has helped run the high school ministry at my church for 10 years now. I’ve spent 10 years with little sisters, watching them grow. The number one thing they tell me impacts them is that I’m not afriad to be real and messy in front of them. I’m me. When I’m a mess for a “minute”, I don’t try to hide it. And they find that to be very accessible. We all need to know those we look up to have been there, too. Have had the same experiences. Have been imperfect. Have been as human as we have. That creates the comfort and security that helps things blossom.

  2. 2
    Sasha says:

    For the Girls…

    Linds – Good words of wisdom in regards to working with the girls. I have been in continuing relationships with teen girls for the past 6 years. I am a high school teacher and have led small groups and have other one-on-one friendships with them. I think one thing I would add, and it may go with listening to them, that sometimes you can just be there in the space and the pain with them when they are going through something. Much like a peer/friend, when she is hurting it’s OK if you don’t have a solution, answer or response. If we see them as people to be loved and not problems to be fixed we are free to love them as Holy Spirit moves and sometimes that’s just being there and recognizing that something is hurtful and awful and in this space we can, ideally, point them back to Jesus as their Comforter. I don’t know, I just think sometimes because we are in the role of “mentor” or “leader” and we may feel some pressure to perform (at least I sometimes fall into that trap/pride/sin) and we don’t have to worry because Jesus has got the girls and we have the freedom and privilege to love them and say Jesus A LOT.

    Thanks for this post; I have been given a HUGE heart for teens and the practical wisdom and encouragement is, well, encouraging! Thanks for the work you do with them!

    • 2.1
      Lindsee says:

      Yes, Sasha! I couldn’t agree more. We won’t always have a solution or answer for them, and in fact, sometimes they just need to feel validated that their feelings are real and hard to understand, but okay. That we would just love them and point them to Jesus. Amen! Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you.

    • 2.2
      Sandy says:

      “If we see them as people to be loved and not problems to be fixed we are free to love them as Holy Spirit moves…”

      Amen sister! Great addendum post to a great post! Thank you! ;o)

    • 2.3
      BrendaB says:

      At last, after 54 years, I understand being a “fixer” has been misguided. Thank you Lord for enlightening and unburdening me. I am so excited to start the shift to simply loving and praying for the Holy Spirit to move

      • Sasha says:

        Amen, sis, Amen. As we know, Eve was trying to “fix” something that wasn’t wrong in the Garden…I’ve been there too. Let. His.Freedom.Reign.

  3. 3
    Tara G. says:

    As I was reading your post, it struck me that “grown up” ladies are quite similar- we need to have that safe environment in which we can be real and ask one another those hard questions that keep us sharp and moving on that sanctification continuum. I love what Kelly Minter said about prayer in her Nehemiah study: “One of the beauties of intercessory prayer is that it builds community as it divinely attaches you to those for whom you are praying.” I am so thankful for those like you who are instilling solid, biblical principles in the younger generation- may they grow up and be strong women who continue to practice what they’ve been taught and pour it out onto someone else.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Volkmer says:

    I have the opportunity to mentor girls going right into college. In our young adults group, the age span is 18-30. And I started a connect group about 3 years ago for any girls who would come. Imagine my surprise when all the girls were about 17, 18 and 19; I spend time with them…pray and encourage them and its grown. I know it’s completely of God because I started with 2 girls and it morphed into 11-18. Helped me become stronger in my faith walk as well, not something I was expecting. 🙂 it’s amazing though, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

  5. 5
    Warm In Alaska says:

    Lindsee – I so appreciate the wisdom you’ve shared in this post. Thank you, thank you ~

  6. 6
    Michele says:

    Yes, thank you Lindsee. I think another huge component of helping those younger in age or faith is to teach them to process every day with God.

    I sought a friend/help when I was new at my church and ended up getting connected with a nice lady, but all she wanted to do was figure out my problem for me and solve it herself.

    I didn’t want someone to fix my problems for me, I wanted someone to just talk things through with so I could hear from God about what He was doing in my situation.

    The best friends and listeners will help you go deeper with God by not just immediately handing you their own pat answers, but by asking you questions to help you get to the root issues.

    As friends and mentors, we should seek to be part of God’s plan, not just try to make God part of ours.

  7. 7
    Corley says:

    I’ve been working with girls on the college campus (and some in church) for the last 8 years. This list is great, Lindsee! I whole-heartedly agree with #9–so much of discipleship happens while you’re just running errands or doing everyday activities. Also #7–I know how much it means to me when someone puts a hand on my shoulder and prays over me, so I really try to do that with my girls.
    The only thing I would add (at least for me personally) is that I’m touchy-feely and I make sure my girls get at least one hug from me while we’re together. That’s such a big deal to me-I want them to know they’re loved and accepted, and putting my hands on them is an important way I can accomplish that.
    Good words!

    • 7.1
      Lindsee says:

      Amen, Corley! Yes! Even if they’re not the touchy/feely type, everyone could use a hug. Good word!

  8. 8
    Jedidja says:

    What a nice post. You helps me with this.

  9. 9

    Loved this post! I don’t usually comment, but I wanted to say that I appreciate this conversation so much!

    My experience is in working with college girls, so I want to be clear on that that. I was an RA for two years so I had just under fifty girls I was responsible for. My senior year I became good friends with a freshman and loved being able to be her “big sis” and mentor her. Then when I left college she became an RA and now she’s doing the same. It is HUMBLING to see how God used you when you were just doing normal everyday things.

    I loved all of your points, but I really liked #9 (Do Things With Them). When meeting with a girl is just something on your to do list, she’s going to know it. When you incorporate her into your life, it’s easy to get her to talk and it shows that you really care. Sending a text when something made you think of her, doing homework together or asking her to accompany you to Target show that you really do care for her and don’t just view her as a ministry.

  10. 10
    Jennifer T says:

    I had one brief stint in a youth ministry team just after getting married (about 15 years ago…whoah). Something I learned there and now that I’ve had the privilege of watching power-house sisters-in-Christ raise up amazing young ladies is that you can be REAL and candid and open **without dishonoring others.** This is a big deal. Please, you sweet mentors-of-teens, model to them what it is to honor others with discretion in sharing. Example: teen is trying to figure out dating relationship and boundaries. She asks you about what you did/didn’t do pre-marriage or, if you’re single, what you will/won’t do pre-marriage. (Those questions DO happen.) I have said to one young person, “I’ll answer any question you have as long as it doesn’t violate the trust my husband has in me. Our stories are for him and I only… I need him to know his secrets are safe with me and my secrets must be safe with him. I can tell you this – from flat out EXPERIENCE I KNOW that God’s biblical plan is absolutely best for you!” I was surprised how much that gained teen’s respect – that I didn’t try too much to be a buddy sharing nitty-gritty, but consistently loved teen and pointed them to Christ.
    If you’re a single mentor, showing them how to navigate relational things (family/teachers/dating) with respect and wisdom is a massive blessing. Even saying some stories will be saved for just your future man.
    I pray my comment is on-target and can bless in some way. I bet you pros are totally on this already. 🙂 Thank God you are helping teens find their identity solely in Jesus. Keep doing it, Lindsee (and all of you)!!!

    • 10.1
      Lindsee says:

      Jennifer, excellent wisdom! There is absolutely a good balance in what you share and what you don’t so that you’re always honoring other. May we ALWAYS remember that! Thank you!

  11. 11
    Joanna says:

    Thanks for this post! It’s timely for me; I’m 30 and just started in a leadership role with 6th grade girls at my church about a month and a half ago. I’m only just starting to really build my relationships with them. How encouraging and exciting to read this post and the comments, thank you! 🙂

  12. 12
    Leslie Crawley says:

    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing the wisdom of your experiences!

  13. 13
    Alicia says:

    Youth minster’s wife here!!! Love this post! Oh man! Yes!!! The HARD questions! I’ve watched so many leaders try so hard to be the “fun one” that they get sidetracked being the friend instead of the mentor. We need a good balance of both!!! It’s tough though! Completely agree on the “living and doing life WITH you” it is my favorite part of discipleship!!! Nothing makes my heart grow more than a bunch of kiddos in my house or just one! And prayer- out loud! This has been my new change for this year and it’s been great! My hubs suggested a reverse lent activity: in addition to the regular “giving up”, We add one thing to make us more spiritually aware- I added praying out loud. So, anytime someone asked for prayer or I told them “I’ll pray for you about that” I had to do it- right then and there. In person, over the phone, in a text. How it has stretched me, but I’ve continued to do it past lent. Who doesn’t need a little extra strength through prayer. Thank you for this post AND FOR MENTORING YOUNG LADIES!!! you’re doing a great job!!!!

    • 13.1
      Lindsee says:

      Alicia, your job is so important! Thank you for serving in the church beside your man. What a gift I’m sure you are to those girls! Blessings on your ministry!

  14. 14
    Patti Reavis says:

    I’m at a new church and am so attracted to the youth (30’s) there. Thank you for the wonderful advice.
    You are absolutely precious!

  15. 15
    Terri says:

    …I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
    Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

  16. 16
    Lauri says:

    Love this! All great points! I’ve mentored / discipled girls in high school, college and, most recently, young adults. You took the words right out of my mouth. If I’m not asking the hard questions…who is? Amazingly, no one has ever called me nosey even though I have been known to ask deep, personal and challenging questions. Asking = I care what you think. At first, it takes courage to be the hard-question asker. But just as important as getting over that fear is the need to trust God’s Spirit in me to bring the right questions to the surface. While we’re talking I am asking Him to be the One leading our conversation so, if a question comes to mind I assume it’s Him. I know that He loves her far more than I could and I trust Him in the dialogue.

  17. 17
    Hilary says:

    I mentor an at-risk teenage girl through a ministry that focuses on at-risk teens. All your observations, Lindsee, are right on. The biggest thing I’ve discovered in my relationship with my current teenager is that need to be real, and to not be shockable, thus creating a safe place for her to be herself as she is now, so we can deal with what needs to change.

  18. 18
    Larry Newcomer says:

    Karen pointed out your mentoring article to me. While I’m not mentoring girls I do have a couple of guys in whose lives I’m involved. As you wrote in the beginning, the ideas can be applied to those in a mentoring relationship. Good work and good for the body of Christ.

    • 18.1
      Lindsee says:

      Hi Larry! So fun to see your name pop up here. Missed seeing you guys this year! But I hope all is well! You, my friend, have served so faithfully. It encourages me!

  19. 19
    Anna says:

    Lindsee, you must be half my age. But you are wise beyond your years. Thank you so much for these simple but honest to goodness words. And for all the wuse additions of the other kadies who have commented as well.
    Thank you. Sincerely.

  20. 20
    Andrea says:

    Lindsey, thank you so much for this post! A few months ago I felt God leading me start a small Bible study group for my middle school daughters and their friends. I was scared! What would I teach? When and where would we have it? Am I just putting one more thing on my plate? Married, 3 kids, all in sports and I already lead a Women’s Bible study at Church. I’m sad to say I just put it on the back burner. Well God has a plan and it will be accomplished! One of my coworkers came to me one day, not knowing what God had already told me, and said “Here I’d like you to lead this book study for our girls this Summer at the pool.” She just answered every question I had. I heard God loud and clear that time!
    So your post is perfect timing. I need the complete book on mentoring girls 101 🙂 I can handle my own daughters’ questions but their friends…I feel such a responsibility but this is God teaching me to rely on His strength and not my own. Also thank you to all the siestas for sharing their knowledge!

    • 20.1
      Tanya says:

      Thanks for listening. I’m leading my 8 year old daughter and a little boy from church through a study this summer. I’m scared to death. Honestly. I feel such a responsibilty. And honored that the other mom who I honestly don’t know that well is letting me do this. I felt like God wanted me to though.

      I’ll pray for you when I pray for me. Obeying together. Andrea. 🙂


  21. 21
    Elisa says:

    You ask about mentoring teen girls, well Linsee, that’s my thing! I’ve been mentoring for almost 20 years and launched a ministry online 2 years ago as an overflow: We’re passionate about impacting teens, influencing moms, and inspiring mentors through providing biblically based resources and training.

    I’ve also written, Impact My Life: Biblical Mentoring Simplified (available on Amazon) to specifically help women mentor teens and twenty-somethings both individually and in a group format. There is also a study guide available.

    I love the advice you give here. Much of it captures what I share in Impact My Life — sort of my version of mentoring 101 with life coaching principles thrown in. Thanks, Linsee, for tackling this topic and for being a mentor, too!

  22. 22
    Jessica says:


    How I wish you were near the Midwest/south Dakota area-so many of the blogs and your thoughts are so wonderful-I feel like we would just be great friends. 🙂

    I’m 25 year old high school teacher but I have been involved in a ministry called Young Life for the past 2 years. I gravitate towards coffee dates with some lovely high school girls weekly. Who doesn’t love coffee right? 🙂 Thanks for your encouraging advice and reminders as you, me, and all of us desire to pour out onto these young women. I think consistency is huge with them as well. Consistency in just showing up-whether at events of theirs, Bible studies, one-on-ones, and more. Being present.

    So many times those tough questions are hard to ask-can make it slightly awkward, and all of that, but the value is so there. I was encouraged this year to, like you, to pray for each girl with them as they left-which has transformed our one-on-ones and they expect it eagerly at the end. God is so faithful in hearing our prayers for these young ladies.

    I honestly feel like even at 25, I can still struggle with some things (maybe not as dramatically 😉 ) that the high school girls do too. That is encouraging all around. Thankful for another woman who prayerfully and passionately pursues young ladies!

    Praying a refreshment and fullness of energy for you on these get togethers. 🙂


  23. 23
    Sandy says:

    Great post Lindsee! Thank you so much for this. It’s wonderful confirmation for me. I will print this and keep it with me as I ask for the Lord to open up a door. Simple, but to the point insight. I raised three boys, but girls are something totally different, lol.

    Blessings, Sandy

  24. 24
    Miriam says:

    I have the honor and privlege of being part of a Barnabas Mentoring program that mentors teens that are going through a leadership training program. Most exciting is that I get to mentor my neice! It’s exciting to see the growth that these girls go through when they have a mentor to go to. They trust the opinion of their mentor sometimes more than they do their own parents! It’s a HUGE responsibility, but oh so rewarding! I work for a Christian camp and this summer I get to also mentor one of our summer leadership team…a female counselor (college age) that will be staying on-site all summer long. I would encourage anyone who has a heart for working with young women (and men too!) to try mentoring. Not only does the teen benefit from this time with you, but you do to! What a blessing! Thanks for these tips! I’ve shared them with some of my fellow mentors! 🙂

  25. 25
    Elyse says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! As someone who is 25 and has had quite a few mentors, especially during my late teenage and early adult years, I believe that mentoring is highly important and can dramatically change a life for the good! I struggled with low self esteem which led to an eating disorder and self harm. I never really felt like I belonged. I didn’t have a personal relationship with The Lord and didn’t even know what that looked like. But because of my youth pastors wife, Jenn, taking me under her wing and mentoring me my life completely changed for the good. It was an extremely long process until I “got it” but the point is that I got it!! All of the struggle and effort that it had taken to consistently meet with me, pray for me, and love me despite the times where I didn’t want to change or do the things that she had suggested that I do totally helped change my life. So I say all of that to say, if you are in the process of mentoring a girl and you’re discouraged because it seems like she just isn’t “getting it” keep pressing on!! I can promise you that it will be worth it in the long run! I’m a living testimony!

  26. 26
    Cathy K. says:

    Thank you, Lindsee! This is a very practical and helpful list and it reveals how well God has fitted and equipped you for your ministry to young girls. What you are doing is SO VERY IMPORTANT! Bless you and know that you have our prayer support as you serve and love and mentor!!!

  27. 27
    Hannah says:

    I wish that I had someone like that in my life.

  28. 28
    Kristen says:

    This is fantastic advice, Lindsee. Thank for sharing it–I really enjoy mentoring young girls, and am always looking for ways others do it well.

  29. 29
    Hope says:

    Lindsee –
    Thanks for sharing your insight – I meet with a group of 8th grade girls… and yep they can see right through fake… I think they are so tired of ‘fakeness’ (in their circle of friends, school, relationships and even in the church) that when someone (a friend, adult etc.) is real with them… they hold on tight. Likewise, don’t we as adults do the same thing? 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing…. it sure did encourage me and help me think that even though not every conversation we engage in isn’t deep it’s real.

    For adults that are intimidated with younger girls- be honest. I will never forget walking into the jr. high room at church and thinking will anyone like me, talk to me (just like I was a student). and at the small group I just said flat out – I’m super nervous and feel really awkward and don’t’ know what to say. And later some of the girls said- thanks for saying that, we just assume that the adults have it together. AHHAHA if they only knew. But just be real!!!

    • 29.1
      Lindsee says:

      Hope, what a funny story! We can all feel a little insecure walking into a new room, can’t we? Being honest is so key. And sometimes makes situations less awkward! 🙂

  30. 30
    Laura S says:


    Thank you! As a mother of a teenage girl who has her friends over a good amount, these suggestions are wonderful! I especially like asking about the boundaries with the boyfriend and going through a book together.

  31. 31
    Michelle says:

    Hi! I am a professional counselor who has worked with teens both professionally and as a youth leader. I agree with all that has been said! Teenagers have authenticity radar – so if you aren’t real with them, they are tuning you out (you sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher…wa wa wa wa wa!) Listen (actively) more than you speak. One thing I found effective is when I’m listening, I listen for stuff that they have thought through in a good way and emphasize/encourage that because then you can help them apply that similar strength to a new dilemma. The goal is that they learn how to think through problems in a Godly way as opposed to just doing what their told. The first time I told a young girl ‘wow that was really smart the way you figured that out’ her eyes got big…sadly I don’t think anyone ever said it to her before. Anyway maybe all that’s obvious because you all seem like a wise group of women; but that’s my two cents 🙂 Thank all of you for posting your thoughts and for taking time to be with teenagers!!

    • 31.1
      Lindsee says:

      Michelle, that is wonderful wisdom! I could not agree more. It kind of reminds me of the “do not look down on them because they are young”, point out the things they are doing right! Because there are things we can learn from them! Blessings to you!

  32. 32
    Patti says:

    Thanks, Lindsee – I have two precious daughters-in-love and your advice is like wisdom from above for those of us who have married sons and desire to be mothers-in-love, not mother’s-in-law. Let me say that I dearly love the two women to whom my sons are married, and they have made following this advice easy. I am a blessed mother-in-love.
    Much love to all of you at LPM and in Siestaville,
    Patti Hayes

  33. 33
    TraciG says:

    I was a high school English teacher for 12 years, and then worked with our high school youth ministry for 5 years.
    The list you have given is excellent Lindsee! I would add one that maybe seems a little obvious, and probably much easier to do in a smaller town/neighborhood.. but I think it’s extremely important to “show up” for them… at ball games, concerts, grand marches etc. In my experience when I showed I was interested in their whole life, they were more receptive to spiritual mentoring.
    One other thing that I think is important is to encourage them by sending a text, or an email or a card at certain moments just to let them know you are thinking about them or praying for them.
    It’s a big responsibility and a huge honor when a young lady allows us in to their lives. The most important thing we can do is pray for wisdom in our interactions and keep them wrapped in prayer each day!

  34. 34
    Vanessa says:

    Youth Pastor’s wife! Enjoying every minute of it. God definitely knows what is best and takes us out of our comfort zones because he knows what is best for us!

    I have enjoyed watching our young ladies and young men grown in the Lord. We have a new “crop” as of this year. We recently had a prayer retreat and did a prayer walk with our young people. Most hand never experience one and all said it was life changing for them. Being real with the youth/kids is so vitally important. Never being shocked by a question or them sharing something about their home life is also very important.

    My husband I have agreed and have let the youth know that if you share something with either of us in confidence we will not share it…even with our spouse. IF you make this commitment make sure you keep it!

    Our youth meetings are places where if personal things are shared with the group it is not to leave the youth room. It has made our youth group accountable and open. We know this may not work for all youth groups, but for us it works. Sharing with the youth the mistakes you make throughout the day/week helps them to see you as REAL and not just a bible teacher.

    Thank you for sharing your blog and being wise beyond your years. Keep on mentoring and pouring into young women.

    • 34.1
      Lindsee says:

      Yes! I’ve learned to not be shocked any ANYTHING. Nothing is past anyone! We’re all human, after all!

  35. 35
    Tari says:

    Thanks for the encouraging post and comments! I’m the wife of the youth pastor at our church, and though I’ve always had the Lord use me as Spackle mentality (if there’s a hole he want’s me to fill I’ll be there), I’m struggling with this transition! I’ve had my small group girls since sixth grade year, and I’m heading to all their graduations this weekend! Lord hold me! There has been so much during that time and I’ve been falling for the lie that it depended on me, and I didn’t do enough (pride) I’ve been praying against that, and trying to finish this part of the race well. I feel I can’t cram any more into this, and I should be thankful, and I am, but I’m also afraid of what happens next (trust in the Lord). Pray for my transition into the next unknown to me Spackle hole designed for me!

    • 35.1
      Lindsee says:

      Tari, I understand. After investing in a group for so long it’s hard to watch them go, but it’s always really sweet. Sometimes that’s when you do see the fruit of your labor. I think that’s another lie we do have to stand up against, is, did we do enough? Sometimes it’s not always what we did, but did we point them to Jesus, share scripture with them and plant seeds? The rest is up to the Lord. The last thing we want to do is put unrealistic expectations on any of us or the girls we get to disciple. You bless those girls and send them off, dear Sister! You’ve done well.

  36. 36
    Marlinda Flynn says:

    Lindsey, this was a wonderful post and the replies give great additional insight. I am not leading any group but have three girls and two boys. The posts have encouraged me to remember to never let a moment slip by when opportunity knocks.

    Thanks to all!

  37. 37

    Great post Lindsee! I am so on board with everything you said here.

    The one thing I’ve learned through my own life experiences and ministry is to never underestimate the struggles people have. We tend to project the best version of ourselves to everyone instead of opening up to others who can love and help us. Teenage girls, really women in general, are especially good at internalizing. You have to be faithful, intentional, and sacrificial in your relationships. It’s going to be hard and messy but you’ve gotta stick by them. You may be the only person in their world who will always stand by them and love them unconditionally. Don’t ever take that for granted. You may not see the fruit when it’s ready for harvest but never doubt the power of planting the seeds of love and faithfulness in a young girl’s heart.

  38. 38
    colette says:

    Lindsee thank you for challenging me to be more compassionate to teenage girls because I have grown boys and boys are completely different! I work with the elementary school aged kids at church and they are just soooo sweet! I don’t have as much patience for the teen drama! I do know I went through my own stage of drama when I was younger and just need to remember to be a little more sensitive to their issues! Things seem so much harder these days than when I was younger! Thank you for your insight! 🙂

  39. 39
    Letha says:

    These are good mentoring guidelines for any age girls :)!

  40. 40
    Lisa says:

    Lindsee, thanks for this post. I am a young youth minister’s wife (I’m 24 and we have been married for 2 years). I also teach our girl’s small group. Those girls scare the crud out of me and I can’t seem to get through to them no matter what I try. I so enjoy this discussion as I seek to step out of my comfort zone and lead them (put me in a room of 3 year olds and I’m in my happy place, a room of 13 year olds make me sweat). This past weekend one of the girls wanted to spend some time with me so I had her run errands with me. I don’t feel like that time was super impactful but I’m hoping it made her feel special and loved.

    • 40.1
      Lindsee says:

      Lisa, bless you sister. No one said it was easy! It’s hard. Keep it up! And the fact that that sweet girl wanted to spend time with you means something!

  41. 41
    Kim T says:

    I’m a mom of a 15 yr old and it is so hard, but the one thing that has helped is our Young Life mentors … they truly care and can relate to my girl in a way that I just can’t seem to right now. I would love more posts like this, being a teen in 2013 is really hard, so much Babylon in our midst! I would love to see a specific bible study for teen girls … I loved Beth’s study on Esther and always thought that it would make an amazing study for young girls. Also a heartfelt thank you to all of you who walk along side our young girls thru youth/church programs. The time you spend … well, there’s not a moment wasted and I believe important seeds of faith are planted in their hearts & minds! Bless you all and Lindsee, thank you for bringing this important topic to light!

  42. 42
    Lynne Jones says:

    I served as a youth worker in my church youth group for 7 years. The range was 7th grade – 12th senior HS. I loved every minute of it. While it was exhausting because of the huge time commitment; you must keep up the momentum so as not to lose them. My advice/lesson learned was to not be judgemental, but merciful pointing them back to Jesus and being a good listener and trustworthy. Meet them where they are – what is their need? Emotional? Spiritual? Material? Help with all the above. So very fulfilling. I now work with 6th graders in the AWANA program. Love these kids, too. To God be the glory. Thank you for your post and heart for these girls.

  43. 43
    Jeri May says:

    Yes, that’s all true. I’m a mama who has the privilege of working with a group of high school students at my daughter’s school during drama productions. I love spending “real” time with those young women and the guys, too. But mostly the girls!

  44. 44
    Emma says:

    Hey Lindsee,
    Thanks for that post. I am involved in a couple of mentoring relationships with high school girls and while I am only a few years out of high school myself I still struggle, at times, with how to approach them. I think the point you made about each girl being different is so important. I have made the mistake of going into a relationship with expectations of how it will be and then have had a shock when it turned out to be totally different. I constantly have to remind myself that every single girl is different and that they all need different things. Sometimes it takes a couple of months to get into the rhythm of the relationship before you feel like you really know the girl, the questions she needs to be asked and the place that the relationship has in her life. I also find that the more you view them a person and not as a project (which as a goal-driven person I have the risk of doing) the better the relationship is.
    As many people have said, all these principles apply not only in relationships with younger girls but also in the relationships with our peers. I have seen a lot of fruit in my relationships with my friends when we aim to go deeper and invest into one another in the same way you do in a mentoring relationship.
    God Bless, Emma.

  45. 45
    Amy says:

    I am not an expert either, but I actually just wrote a post on this exact topic. If you are interested you can view it at

    I love mentoring young girls!

  46. 46
    Lauren says:

    Lindsee, Thank you so much for this powerful post that you wrote. Truly powerful. I am blessed to have a mentor in this season of life, and I loved recognizing, as I read your thoughts, how my mentor really does embody so many of the qualities you mentioned. That is, she doesn’t try to be perfect or perform for me. She is honest with me about things that are hard in her own life (though I know she is sometimes careful about what she shares specifically). She asks me the hard questions. But I also loved reading your thoughts as I consider how to sort of come alonside some younger girls/women in my life.
    I loved what you said about asking specific questions, which I do think is so important and helpful. I wanted to add, though, that I also actually really appreciate when my mentor or a good friend asks me an open-ended question like, “tell me…how are you doing? what have you been thinking about/feeling lately?” I love it because it gives me the opportunity and permission to bring up something that they maybe didn’t even know to specifically ask, and to just share whatever is on my heart. So I actually love the question, “how are you doing?” And I intentionally try to ask both specific and open-ended questions of my good friends and the people in my life, just to offer them opportunities to share about things I know to ask about and things I don’t know to ask about. Hope that made sense.
    Thank you again, Lindsee. God is using your life and authenticity powerfully in so many lives. including mine. 🙂

  47. 47
    Tanya says:

    The best people have been to me is honest. About them and me. I have one friend who considers me her friend and not my mentor. By the way I am 32 but she was my sunday school teacher when I was 14 I guess. When I realized that she actually considered me an equal it was worlds to me.

    Also my daughter will spontaneously hug me just for love in those moments I make her world important to me. Right now its listening to her endless stories right out of a book series she is reading.

    For me the hardest part of mentoring or leading in any capacity is realizing that people (my daughter or the child I am leading or teaching for instance) actually have regard for me and what I do and how I do it. This is huge. To have such opportunity–can I really waste it because I’m so stinking insecure?? Huge battle over here! But I think–I REMEMBER looking at older women that I admired (I didn’t admire all older women mind you) and wanting to be just like them. Remember what it was like–and it may pull you up out of what you think you can not do.

    And I pray. Every day. I can not (honestly I’m pathetic–I can’t even be nice for pity sake unless I pray constantly) do life well unless I’m praying–

    I’m printing this blog–to remember. Thanks for the tips

  48. 48

    This was such a great post, Lindsee! Thank you for your insights. I am a mom to a 9 year old girl and these tips definitely can be applied to my role as a parent too. We’ve just recently moved to a new town and I also have a 2-year old boy and an 11 month old baby girl so I feel sort of disconnected from the whole teen scene because I don’t know any older girls. But hopefully soon I can start opening my home/life to someone. It would be good for me to mentor someone and it would be good for our 9 year old to see that.

    • 48.1
      Lindsee says:

      Adrienne, you have your hands full, Sister! I pray one day I’ll be able to apply these to parenting. 🙂

  49. 49
    Candice says:

    I get to work with college students for my “day job” and hang out with high school (soon to be juniors!!) for the rest of the time!! I think what you shared already is wonderful, so true. Craig Groeschel said at a conference once when speaking about the “younger” generation, that “authenticity trumps cool everytime” for those students. I have found this to be very true. The girls I walk along side of right now, just want to know who I am, the real me. Which is one of the most important things, I want to model. To be who I am in Christ, not what I read in books, magazines or see on TV or the movies say I should be or look like. Helping them see that getting to know Jesus and following Him, wherever they are on that journey is so worth it!
    Thanks for the post, Lindsee – I have greatly appreciated your words on singleness to- as someone a few years older, I too, echo your desire to trust the LORD and walk with Him in this current season. I consider it one of the greatest privileges the Lord has given me thus far to work with high school aged girls.

  50. 50
    Alicia K says:

    Any of you fine ladies have any advice for how to pursue a relationship with a 16 year old who seems like she wants little to od with you? My sister-in-law is going to be 17 and a senior at a high school/boarding school next year. She just moved to the states from Nigeria (but she’s Indian and very western, culturally) so she is very taken with everything to do here. Where she lived there was little to do and going out after dark wasn’t too safe. Every time we hang out she’s constantly on her phone … or talking about the next thing she wants to buy at Victoria’s Secret … or talking about the reality shows she needs to catch up on. We don’t have a solid foundation of a relationship (the second time we ever hung out was a month before I married her brother.) I’m 26 … so I feel awkward – I’m not “her age” but I’m not her mom’s age either … I just don’t know how to build her trust while she’s so distracted by this world and expresses no interest in me. Any advice from y’all?

    • 50.1
      Lindsee says:

      Alicia, all that comes to mind after reading your comment is just to love her where she’s at and pray that the Lord would give you an opportunity to pursue a relationship with her. We can’t force any relationship! But loving her and just being with her may make all the difference in the world. So much change in her life right now! Keep on keepin’ on!

      • Alicia says:

        Thanks Lindsee … I guess it does come down to patience … and remembering what life is like at that age!

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