Whether you’re a homemaker, a businessman, or a vocational Christian leader, I hope you regularly pick the brains of older, mature people whose walk with the Lord you respect. Tapping into their wisdom and experience is a hinge on which your growth and effectiveness will turn.

Select a few of the questions that follow to ask your mentor. The more transparent he or she is, the more valuable the input. If the replies are succinct or too general, pose follow-up probes that seek specificity, clarification, elaboration, or examples.

Why do this? The person who learns only from himself has a fool for a teacher.

  1. If you were 21 again, what would you do differently? Why?
  2. If you were 21 again, what would you do the same? Why?
  3. What book on personal spiritual growth has ministered most to you? Explain.
  4. What book on leadership or church ministry do you consider a “must read”? Why?
  5. In following Christ or in ministry, what keeps folks from finishing well?
  6. What suggestions can you offer that will increase the likelihood of finishing well?
  7. What have you learned about preventing or managing interpersonal conflict?
  8. What is the #1 thing you’ve learned about maintaining a strong marriage?
  9. What’s the #1 thing you’ve learned about parenting young children? (Teens? About relating to grown children?)
  10. When it comes to handling money, what is the best decision you ever made?
  11. When it comes to finances, what do you wish you’d done differently? Why?
  12. How do you keep your personal walk with the Lord vibrant?
  13. How do you spend your personal devotional time?
  14. How do you instill variety into your quiet time so it doesn’t become too prosaic or routine?
  15. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Why?
  16. What is your “life verse” from Scripture? Why did you select it?
  17. (If he or she doesn’t claim a “life verse” …) Cite a verse or passage from the Bible that has challenged or encouraged you. Explain your selection.
  18. Think of a person you consider a “spiritual hero.” Why did you select this person?
  19. You know me well. Cite an area (character, relational skills, attitudes, etc.) in which I need to grow. Be honest and specific. Then help me determine how to jump-start a change for the better.
  20. If YOU were posing questions to a mentor, what is one you’d ask that isn’t on my list? (Then ask your mentor to answer it.)

What other profitable questions have you asked a mentor?