Greencastle woman authors book on spiritual mentoring

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Stephanie Ziebarth once dreamed of being an author but, influenced by someone in her own life, the University of Minnesota journalism major went into ministry and focused on mentoring.

After more than 15 years as Barnabas mentor coordinator at Joy El Generation/Joy El Camps & Retreats near Williamson, she’s used her writing skills in the book “Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring.”

“I let the idea of writing a book fall by the wayside a long time ago,” Ziebarth said. “It’s kind of fun that God provided this opportunity to bring both interests together in this project.”

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A book-release event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, at Joy El, 3741 Joy El Drive, Greencastle. A book-signing and the program will begin at 7 p.m. A virtual launch is planned at 8 p.m. Monday, July 11. To RSVP to either event or for more information, email investyourselfbook@gmail.com

Stephanie Ziebarth of Greencastle, Barnabas mentor coordinator at Joy El Generation/Joy El Camps & Retreats, has authored ‘Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring.’

“I am interested in providing a useful tool that will help people grow in their faith and make a positive difference in the world around them — as well as for eternity,” Ziebarth said.

Learning to be a mentor

Barnabas mentors are involved with the young people in Joy El’s 4.12 Leadership program. Through one-on-one discipleship, they walk alongside students in grades eight to 12 as they mature spiritually in their journeys of faith.

“They have the privilege and the opportunity to pour all God has put in them into the life of a teen,” according to the Barnabas program description on Joy El’s website.

“Early on, I decided I needed to create a training workbook for the mentors who could not attend the onsite training. Some of the students and mentors in the program have been from as far away as Florida, Tennessee and New York,” said Ziebarth, whose husband, Aaron, is Joy El’s CEO.

Stephanie Ziebarth

“Over the years, my husband and I have received frequent requests for copies of the mentoring manual,” she explained. “I’ve always said, ‘Sure, and it will give you all of the general principles, but it is geared toward our specific program.’ The resounding response has been, ‘You should publish this for a general audience.’

“We have been prayerfully considering it for many years and finally felt the time was right to go for it,” Ziebarth said. This is her first book, but she has had other work included in anthologies.

“Invest Yourself” is a concise, practical 88-page guidebook to equip readers to get started mentoring. It includes appendices covering topics such as lessons plans, special considerations when mentoring high school students and how to find a person to mentor.

“It is for Christians who want to make a positive, lasting difference in the world and who are interested in meaningful relationships,” Ziebarth said. “A friend of mine in the publishing industry says it is perfect for younger adults who are looking for purpose and deeper relationships, but it has been enjoyed, tested and tried by readers of all ages.”

About the Ziebarth family

“I am not attempting to ‘get famous’ through this book. I am very content living a quiet, yet meaningful, life,” Ziebarth said.

She and her husband have lived in Greencastle for about 20 years and have three children. The oldest is married and living in Minneapolis, the other two live in Greencastle and the youngest will be a senior at Greencastle-Antrim High School this fall.

Like their parents, the children have been very involved at Joy El, as well as in the community, including the triennial Old Home Week celebration.

This year, Stephanie Ziebarth will do one of the readings during the Old Home Week musical community worship event “Jesus, He Is Worthy,” with performances at 4 and 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, in the Greencastle-Antrim High School auditorium.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com