Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Shelter of Informal Mentoring

One of the challenges I repeatedly hold out to the people of our church—especially the women—is that they make it one of their aims to age into a sage. I love the vision of older women full of seasoned spiritual fruit that comes only with long life and much affliction and deep meditation on the Word of God. So many younger women yearn for older women, who are deeply wise, to share the wisdom God has taught them over the years. John Piper

My friend, Eleanor, is a Titus 2 woman. Her mentoring ministry fulfills the command in verses two through five: Older women likewise are to exhibit behavior fitting, for those who are holy, not slandering, not slaves to excessive drinking, but teaching what is good. In this way they will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, fulfilling their duties at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message of God may not be discredited.

Eleanor doesn’t have a mission statement, a ministry plan, or a weekly/monthly schedule, but she’s living out God’s plan each time she meets a young mother for breakfast, each time she listens to one of them who are hurting, and each time she shares stories about raising her children. And just as important, each time she loves on their little ones. I could name woman after woman she mentors in friendship through encouragement, listening, guidance, laughing and loving. 

What is a mentor?

She is a wise woman who is mature in faith, a lover the Word of God, and consistent in godly conduct.

She is authentic – doesn’t wear a mask.

She is willing to listen, share skills, and provide a positive perspective for life experiences.

She is willing to speak truth using love to cushion the council.

She provides wisdom and offers a spiritually sound, safe and fun friendship to a younger woman.

Three ways to steer the conversation to heart topics: 

Share a time when you were aware of God’s presence, help or timing in your life.

Ask “Can I pray with you?” when she shares one of her struggles.

Use stories of your failures and how you overcame them.

Some things to think about:

Some young families don’t have extra money for coffee store drinks or pastries. If possible, pick up the tab.

Be aware of the books available on different subjects. Pick up one or two “just in case.’

Invite them into your home to make freezer meals for a new mother. You will help them realize blessing others doesn’t have to involve big gifts.

Go beyond with a mailed note, a quick phone call or text, a       small gift such a favorite cookie, candy bar or box of tea, that   says, “I’ve been listening to you.” 

There are many mentoring programs, but sometimes informal mentoring can reach those who wouldn’t sign up for a program. We can answer the call to “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). Prepare them to mentor the next generation for the furtherance of God’s kingdom, and for the glory of God.


Terra Hangen said...

I like your practical tips, and the quotes you include. Age into a sage is a great goal and as a senior citizen, I am on that path. I first thought "I am trying to be on that path", but think "try" is a weak word. A radio psychologist used to say "do, don't try", so I am on my way. When I share with a young person I receive a lot back so it is a blessing all around. Thanks for this post.

Esther Asbury said...

Pam, These are excellent suggestions! Personally, the ladies who have helped me the most in life have been the authentic ones who aren't afraid to admit their struggles/sins/failures and those who take time to care! I want to be that for those who come after me!

Ana Sullivan from The Lost Apron said...

I love this. I read through all of this and wanted more. Mentoring young moms is something I try to do daily as I run into moms downtown and begin chatting with them. There is such a lost generation out there. Thank you for your encouragement to age into a sage.