An essential element of vocational work is mentorship
By Jenna Ellis
This post is related to our upcoming business forum “Taking Your Soul to Work.” Join us Thursday, November 19, 6-9 p.m. as we explore how our spiritual lives can grow in the midst of workplace challenges.
October marked the second anniversary of former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Joe Rogers’ passing. To the world, he was the second black lieutenant governor in Colorado’s history and a very charismatic, passionate leader and advocate.
To me, Joe was the kind of Christian who took mentorship seriously. When I was only 15 years old, I met Joe when he spoke to a group of students visiting the Colorado Capitol Building. I nervously introduced myself at the end of his talk and told him I was interested in law and government.
Joe very kindly told me about his own journey into politics and why he was so passionate about his job. In the span of that brief conversation, he invited me to talk to his office staff and that I could come volunteer as an aide and spend time learning about his job.
I was thrilled. I spent the next year and a half taking the bus 2-3 days per week from where my family lived outside of Denver to the Capitol (I didn’t even have my driver’s permit yet) and getting to see the inside of politics through the lens of Joe’s love of law and citizenship.
Joe was an attorney, and through conversations we had, he was one of the first mentors in my life to encourage me to pursue law school. He told me why issues mattered to him and why his job was important. He was passionate about his vocation and equally passionate about mentorship.
As we go through the daily maze of pursuing our careers and figuring out what we love and why want to do the things we do for work, often the essential element of mentorship gets overlooked. We don’t have time to reach back and help guide those coming after us and maybe make their path a bit easier through our advice and support.
But mentorship absolutely should be a necessary, critical component of vocation and our work.
The essence of the Great Commission is all about discipleship: “Go therefore and make disciples of all men…” (Matthew 28:19)
Discipleship is mentorship. Discipleship is teaching others what we have learned from Christ. This is essential to our work when we understand vocation in the context of our calling to serve Christ through our work.
When we take the time to invest in others for their sake, we are fulfilling a critical element of our own work. Rather than networking only with people we care can advance our careers or spending time with those ahead of us, we need to actively be seeking to invest and be mentors.
In our respective fields, we need to guide, disciple, and mentor the next generation of Christians in our vocations.
I have been incredibly blessed with a series of generous, encouraging mentors. Joe was one of the first to take time to think about investing in my future, not just his own. Now, I am an attorney and I have Joe and my mentors to thank for their consistent encouragement as I navigated my way from being that little 15 year old volunteer at the Capitol to my own fulfillment of vocational calling through love of law and citizenship.
I still have mentors who are guiding and encouraging me. And so I am also guiding and encouraging others who are coming after me. This is an essential and important element of my work in my vocation and my duty to Christ.
One of the most profound influences we can have in our vocation is to be mentors and make disciples, sharing our passion in our vocation and our excitement in the dreams and plans of others.
Today, there are students who will be the next Supreme Court justices, doctors, business owners, parents, pastors, writers and Christian leaders. It’s exciting to watch new vocational passions be ignited and then blaze on for Christ and His work.
Be a part of it. Who knows who you’ll inspire?