Take care of the troubled students
Students who are in a tough spot (for instance because of a bad home situation) definitely need guidance as well, though not necessarily in the same kind of mentoring relationship you’d have with a gifted student. It all depends on your definition of mentoring, which in the case of troubled students may be more of a pastoral mentoring than anything else.
This is one type of mentoring you really need to be gifted in. Personally, I’ve often ‘matched’ these students with youth leaders who were more pastorally gifted, because I often lack the patience to be in this kind of mentoring relationship. If the same goes for you, that’s fine, as long as someone is taking care of those students!
There has to be a click
You can’t mentor someone you don’t have a personal click with. You can try, but the relationship will never be as effective as when you do naturally bond.
There’s a danger here, however, and that is that you end up mentoring only those that are like you in gifts or personality. Let’s face it, research has shown that we tend to like people who are like us, so the chance of us clicking with someone who is completely different from us is smaller than with someone who looks like us (and I don’t mean in appearances and I’m definitely not referring to ethnicity here!). That’s something you’ll need to be aware of, so stay open to the possibility that God is bringing someone completely different from you on your path.
Opposite sex mentoring
Another issue is the question of whether a youth leader should mentor someone from the opposite sex. I’ve written about this in another post.
What other factors do you take into consideration when choosing students to mentor?
P.S. This post was written because someone emailed me this very question. Do you have a youth ministry issue or question you need help with? Shoot me an email at rachel(at)youthleadersacademy(dot)com!