Those who know me well understand that I am naturally an introvert and have developed an aptitude to interact beyond my comfort level. However, new interactions can still be awkward for me. I hope that this isn’t obvious through my body language or words. If that’s been the case with anyone reading this post, I am sorry.

With that being said, I am an avid lifelong learner and believe in drawing and growing from every individual and experience that I have. Recently, I was directing a video for Florida North American Missions and was with church planters, Anthony and Jessica Marquez. I marveled at how Pastor Antonio engaged with complete strangers, and how it opened doors for meaningful connection. One of two things happened that day, as I stood salivating for that prowess and ability to interact with strangers. Pastor Marquez either recognized the astonished look on my face in that quaint espresso and crepe cafe or heard my heartbeat for that ability. Because after his interaction he looked at me said five words I will never forget. “I never meet a stranger.”

Since then, I have embraced every interaction as a Divine appointment, knowing that my steps are ordered by Him. The mantra that rages and drives me to connect with all people (literally), from all walks of life, in this foreign land are those convicting and inspiring words, “I never meet a stranger.”

Why am I sharing this with you? In the past, people have inquired as to who my mentors were. For many years, I wasn’t able to cite a specific individual and allowed that to create an imagined void in my ministerial life. I felt pressure to seek out people I admired with the intent of gaining a mentor. Yes, I have a Pastor (as I believe all pastors should) and I have some elders that have, and continue, to significantly shape my life. However, I don’t think that you have to have a specific “life coach.” When in actuality, I believe God will use your past and present circumstances as well as a myriad of people to deposit things into your life in which the whole of your existence may hang. These people, may or may not quickly fade out of your life.

So much can happen in a conversation, an embrace, a listening ear, etc. I encourage you to stop seeking a “mentoring ideal” and drink deep from the experiences, people, and opportunities God has set before you this day.

Here are three things I would like for you to consider.

– Get over yourself. Humility is key. Once you get over yourself, you will begin to see the many mentors that are right in front you, as opposed to the utopian mentor you’re seeking.

– Keep learning. Commit to being a lifelong learner. This positions you to live in the rhythm of the many teachers God will give you (circumstances, experiences, people, etc.)

– Enjoy the journey. Mentorship, in its myriad of forms, is an experience and not a destination.

Thank you, Pastor Antonio Marquez, for an unforgettable mentoring moment.

How about you? How has the mentorship journey looked for you?