By Gail Marsh
M is for maturing and making the most out of the life God’s given to you. And that’s why M is for mentoring! It’s time to match up your mature Christian women with the girls in your church family and your community. If you don’t already have a mentoring program in place, fall is the perfect time to get moving!
The idea of mentoring is not new. St. Paul outlines the tenants of a mentoring program in his epistle to the young pastor Titus. Paul’s inspired words say:
Teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. . . . These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good (Titus 2:3–5 NLT).
God encourages Christian women to be godly examples to the young women around them. The young maturing girls and teens in your community are not looking for shallow piety or prideful self-centeredness. They’re seeking something genuine. They look to see how a mature Christian woman lives out her beliefs, struggles through her difficulties, and relies upon the grace of God—for real. Adult mentors don’t have to be Bible scholars or hold degrees in adolescent psychology. They don’t need prior experience—except from the school of life.
So, where do you begin? How can you start a mentoring program in your church? One way is to start with a Sunday morning Bible study for women and girls. Provide plenty of one-on-one breakout time during the group study for mentors and mentees to talk to each other. Breaking the ice in this nonthreatening environment can jump-start relationships among participants.
Mentoring can take many different forms throughout the year. In order to strengthen relationships between mentors and mentees, organize church-sponsored activities for your group. Use every opportunity to get mentors and their mentees together. Shared experiences often form strong and lasting friendships. For example:
- If a young woman is passionate about hiking or camping, consider sponsoring a group hike or a weekend overnight camping experience. If this is too intense for most mentors, dial it back with a stretching or exercise session.
- Ask a talented mentor cook or baker to give a demonstration. Then, suggest that the mentor and mentees practice what they’ve learned, and donate the resulting meals or pastries to a local women’s shelter or food pantry.
- Purchase tickets for group seating and invite everyone in the mentor program to attend a professional sports game, stage play, or lecture.
- Invite a nutritionist to speak to your group. Share recipes for tasty and healthy meals.
- Host a monthly book club or movie review for everyone in the mentorship program.
- Gather participants together to learn knitting, drawing basics, or a craft technique.
- Host a horseback riding afternoon followed by a picnic.
- Ask an experienced mentor to share her expertise in setting a budget, planning weekly menus, handling conflict in a godly way, managing time, and more.
Beyond formal get-togethers, encourage adult mentors to make themselves available and to seek out ways to further connect with the girls they serve. Suggest mentors try prayer partnering with their mentees, serving as confidential sounding boards for the girls, searching Scripture together for guidance, and finding other ways to spend time together and connect. You’ll soon discover that mentoring not only inspires girls and teens but also provides a meaningful and rewarding mission for the experienced Christian women within your church family.
How do you bring mature women and teen girls together in your ministry?
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2019 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.