Are you ready to start teaching the next generation how to love Jesus?
Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3–5)
This passage makes it clear that we are to watch the example of the older Christian women around us and seek their guidance for living out our faith.
But there's a flip side to this coin.
It's true that there is always someone older than you who can mentor or disciple you. But the reverse is also true. No matter what your age, there are girls around you who are younger. What's your responsibility to those girls according to this passage? To live out God's standards in front of them and to teach them what is good.
I think it is vital that each of us seek out a godly mentor. But it's equally important to seek to mentor others.
I realize you're not perfect. I know that you make mistakes, struggle with sin, and still have a lot to learn about the Word of God. Because of that you may not feel like you have much to offer the younger girls around you. Or some of you may make the mistake I made as a young woman by considering the younger girls around you too obnoxious or immature to invest much time in. Reconsider those opinions. Titus 2 doesn't urge us to seek out mentors who are perfect. And it doesn't call us to be mentors who are perfect. It simply charges us to learn from each other as we seek to live godly lives.
Like it or not, the younger girls around you are already watching you. They're taking their cues on everything from what to wear to who to date to how live out their faith from you. Why not channel that reality into a mentor/mentee relationship that can benefit you both?
Are you with me? Are you ready to start teaching the next generation how to love Jesus? I hope so. Here are some tips for how to get started.
- Pray. Pray. Pray some more. As a mentor, prayer is your primary work. Pray for God to guide you to a younger girl in need of a mentor. And begin praying for her regularly even before you form a mentor/mentee relationship.
- Seek out one girl to mentor. For the past ten years, I have always had one or two girls whom I considered my mentees. I've learned it is nearly impossible to mentor more than one girl well at a time. That's because mentoring takes a large investment of time, effort, and prayer on your part. Don't try to mentor an entire group of girls. Find one, and concentrate on loving her well.
- Keep it casual. Don't go to someone and say, "I've decided to mentor you." I promise, that will wig her out. Just ask her to go out for coffee or to come hang out at your house. The more you invest in her, the more open she will be about the serious stuff in her life. But at the beginning, just be yourself and give her the most important thing you have to offer—your time.
- Be yourself. The most important thing a mentor can offer is transparency. You don't have to be perfect, but you do have to be a good example. Don't worry about being a Bible scholar or theologian. Just be a good listener, talk freely about what God has done in your life, and point your new friend toward His truth often.
- Take your cues from your mentor. There's a reason why I encouraged you to get a mentor before becoming a mentor. You need someone pouring in to you, holding you accountable, and pointing you toward truth before you can effectively do that for others. If you're unsure about how to mentor someone else, ask your mentor (you have one or are working on getting one, right?) for some guidance.
I have a shoebox full of cards and letters from the girls I have mentored over the years. On it, I've written this verse: "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God" (2 Timothy 1:6).
It has been my great joy to fan into flame the work of Christ in the young women I mentor. They have been my greatest work. Their lives are living monuments to the power of Christ's work in my life and the value of being a truth speaker to others. My wish for you is that you would have at least a shoebox full of rewards for investing in the lives of the younger women around you.
Now, start fanning.