Mentor for Life: Interview with Natasha Robinson
I first met Natasha Robinson at a Synergy Women’s Network conference. We have connected through Redbud Writer’s Guild and MissioAlliance. And a few times in between. As long as I don’t think about her years as a Marine Corps officer, I don’t get intimidated by all the gifts God has given her. I’m so pleased to introduce you to her just released book, Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship. She took some time to answer a few questions that will whet your appetite for this inspiring and practical book.
Natasha, when we first met you were talking about writing a book—but not this one. How did Mentor for Life come about?
Natasha: The process for Mentor for Life came about quite organically. I was leading a mentoring ministry in my local congregation, and it was the type of ministry I wanted to be a part of my whole adult life. I was growing in my faith, meeting new people, having interesting conversations and reading thoughtful, kingdom-focused books.
The ministry was important to me so I would frequently talk about it, and I wrote about it on my blog and in some leadership articles for Christianity Today. When I shared what our group was doing and how I was watching God change people’s lives through mentoring as intentional discipleship, I started hearing people say, “I want to be a part of something like that” or “I wish there was a ministry like that are my church.”
I was often asked for a resource or my curriculum. I realized this was a need in the church and people were sincerely asking for help, so I sat down to write this book.
How did mentoring become a priority in your life?
Natasha: Mentoring has had in invaluable impact on my life. I grew up in a small town in South Carolina, a community of people who understood the African proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” I always had mentors in my formative years--coaches, teachers, community servants, pastors.
Everyone was collectively speaking into my life. The lessons I learned from these mentors taught me discipline and helped me confirm my identity, which later guided me to the United States Naval Academy.
The Naval Academy’s mission is to make leaders who are committed to making a career in the naval service. The institution cares about the moral, mental and physical development of their midshipmen (students), and mentoring is naturally built into the leadership structure of the school.
From the time you walk on campus, you’re being mentored and groomed as you advance so you are able to mentor others. My time at the academy was integral to my professional development and the honing of my leadership skills.
Regarding my spiritual life, I was raised in a church but really didn’t start walking with the Lord in a personal relationship until I was in college. At that time, I was discipled and mentored by a woman who shaped me. Many spiritual influencers built me up and helped me become who I am today.
Mentoring has become a passion of mine, because of the impact it’s had on my life, but also because of the transformation I’ve seen in other people. I believe mentoring is my service to God and to His church.
How do you imagine the book will be used in both individual and group settings?
Natasha: I love to read—I love books. In some ways, I see myself being shaped and formed through the books I read. So I pray that this book will be transformative for those who read it.Mentor for Life is not a book to rush through. It is a book to ponder. I have included questions, opportunities for personal reflection, and exercises at the end of each chapter. I encourage the reader to complete those, and I pray that, as they go through the book, they are thinking not only about starting a mentoring small group or ministry, but they are also asking themselves, “How can I be more intentional in how I live?”
So I pray that Mentor for Life is spiritually transformative for every reader. It’s my hope that they will share and model what they learn with others. Mentor for Life is a leadership book, so it was written to lay a solid foundation for those who want to start a mentoring group or ministry. Reading this book will be a good first step for a small group ministry or leadership team, and they can follow up the reading by accessing the leadership training resource and videos to accompany this book.
****You will enjoy this video of Natasha talking about the uniqueness of her book.
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is the author of Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship and the visionary founder of the nonprofit, Leadership LINKS, Inc. She is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Charlotte (cum laude, M.A. Christian Leadership) and the U.S. Naval Academy. A former Marine Corps officer, Natasha serves as a Bible teacher, writer, anti-human trafficking advocate, and champion for education. She has over 15 years of leadership and mentoring experience in the military, government, church, seminary, and nonprofit sectors. She is a sought after leadership consultant, mentoring coach, and speaker. Connect via her official website www.NatashaSRobinson.com, blog www.asistasjourney.com, Twitter @asistasjourney, or www.facebook.com/NatashaSistrunkRobinson.
Special Bonus: Those who complete an early order of “Mentor for Life” can go to Natasha’s official website and enter their confirmation at http://www.natashasrobinson.com/books/ to receive a six lesson leadership training resource and accompanying videos to equip their team to “Mentor for Life.”