Do you feel that if you are a stay-at-home Mom your ministry opportunities are severely limited? I am excited to share with you that by opening your front door and welcoming a mentoree you can fulfill one of the most important ministry assignments given to women—the Titus 2:3-5 directive!
My commitment to mentoring comes from my early years as a young professional when there was an absence of older women who were willing to lend a helping hand. Many offered criticism, few offered help.I vowed that if I survived, I would be willing to help others on their spiritual and professional journeys. The young women whom I have mentored serve our Lord throughout the world.I love the times when I answer the phone to find one of them on the other end of the connection.Their personal visits are always a blessing and their e-mails, cards, and letters often arrive to encourage and minister to me on challenging days.I am looking forward to our reunion in heaven and count it a privilege to be “the older woman” in their lives!
The strategy outlined in Titus 2:3-5 provides the biblical foundation for understanding the mentoring relationship while the book of Ruth details an example of its application.However, despite the fact that Titus 2:3-5 is an instruction, not a suggestion, to Christian women, few are willing to mentor.Excuses range from, “I don’t have time” to “no one cares what I have to say”.
A portion of the “Perceptions of Homemaking Study” which established the foundation for The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook, identified twenty-first-century individuals’ knowledge of the facts regarding and their ability to perform successfully the life skills commonly associated with the management of the home.2,315 respondents completed a 30-item survey.The cumulative response (each respondent was able to list four skills) to the statement, “The homemaking skills many Christian women lack are,” was 4,599. These responses revealed the homemaking skills many younger Christian women lack are cooking, sewing, organization, time management, hospitality, and cleaning.If you would like to add your response to the study simply click on the link below.
Women who would be considered “older women” in their churches (35 and above) comprised 62.9% (1,459) of the respondents.They overwhelmingly replied that they are confident in their homemaking skills. However, as they responded to the open-ended questions, the women expressed concern for the lack of biblical character and practical skills possessed by the younger Christian women (15-34 in age; 856 respondents comprising 36.9% of the population) they encounter. As the results suggest, there is a break in the circuit. Somewhere in our evangelical cycle of women’s ministry, the Titus 2:3-5 model is being ignored. The survey results pose a thought-provoking question—have the younger women become less teachable or have the older women failed to teach?
I discussed how the Titus 2:3-5 passage is practically applied to a mentor/mentoree relationship with one of my mentorees. A gifted, well-educated young woman in her mid-twenties, she provided some insight to what is comprises a meaningful mentoring relationship. She commented that a mentor is much more like having a “big sister." She is willing to make a life-to-life investment that is relational. Nurturing, involved, invested, and a willingness to walk with you through “her journey” are qualities of the relationship.
Probing a bit deeper I asked where the “spiritual big sis” draws the line between being interested and intrusive. I so appreciate her suggestions:
- Ask questions rather than make demands.
- Serve instead of controlling.
- Wait to be invited into the relationship (though it is usually best for the younger woman to initiate the mentor relationship, the older woman can demonstrate that she is willing to mentor).
- Be an available voice.
- Avoid perfectionism. The scriptures challenge us toward excellence. Perfectionism is God’s responsibility. That means older women need to intentionally “mess up” occasionally so that the younger woman understands that she does not walk on water.
I believe that mentoring relationships can be either formal or informal and have some practical suggestions for each to share with you.
Formal Mentoring Suggestions
- Reading and discussing a Christian women’s book together (for example, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss, A Woman after God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George, or my book with Lisa Tatlock, Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God).
- Completing a study on a book of the Bible (perhaps the book of James or Philippians).
- Reading and discussing a commentary (such as Titus) or the notes from The Study Bible for Women edited by Dorothy Patterson and Rhonda Kelley.
- Memorizing Scripture or keeping a prayer journal and then spending time talking and praying together each week.
Informal Mentoring Suggestions
- Discussing questions raised by the younger woman (questions can be related to relationships, skills, or life experiences).
- Working on projects together such as planning events or holidays to learn practical skills in management (set goals then work together to accomplish them).
- Simply spending time together talking and letting the younger woman see your life and family.
- Sharing your knowledge about practical home management (menu planning, cleaning house, or paying the bills).
Whether formal or informal, “The Seasons of Mentoring Cycle” begins when younger and older women regularly spend time together. Check back the week of March 3 for insight into the “Season of Mentoring Cycle.”Next week’s post will be the first of a recurring monthly post entitled, “Homemaking Hints for the Not-So-Domestic Diva.” Thanks for visiting. I hope you will return regularly!