1. Remember that Your Example Matters
In his letter to Titus, Paul writes, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good” (Titus 2:3). Paul isn’t demanding perfection (none of us would pass that test!), but he does want the older women to be faithful examples as they teach younger women. Some questions to consider as you think about this passage from Titus:
Reverent in the way she lives: Do I give thought to my ways? Do I use my time to serve others? Does my life increasingly reflect my faith? (How do I live?)
Not slanderers: Do I display wisdom with my words? Do I gossip? Do I speak well of others close to me? Do I complain frequently? (How do I speak?)
Not slaves: Do I possess inner discipline regarding alcohol, food, exercise, TV, shopping, and other worldly pleasures? Do I increasingly trust in God for my joy and contentment? (What governs my affections?)
Teaches what is good: Do I give worldly advice or biblical wisdom? Do I have a regular practice of Bible reading and prayer? Do I faithfully seek ways to grow in my own knowledge and understanding? (What governs my mind?)
You may read that list and want to quietly turn and run as fast as you can away from being a mentor. Please don’t! Perfection is impossible. However, we can be women who seek to love God in all we think, say, and do. That’s what your mentee needs most: a woman who earnestly desires to know God and glorify him with her life.
2. Involve and Invite
One of the best ways you can share your life with the woman you’re discipling is to invite her into and involve her in your life. One little poem that someone passed on to me goes something like this:
I do, you watch.
I do, you help.
You do, I help.
You do, I watch.
As you minister in your local church, bring your mentee along. If you’re teaching a Bible study or Sunday school class, involve her in some way. If you’re serving in a soup kitchen or visiting at the jail, ask her if she can join you. If you’re running errands on a Saturday, see if she wants to ride along with you. If you’re watching your kids play sports, ask her to come and chat with you on the sidelines. If you’re heading out for a walk, see if she can join you. Inviting her into your real life—even the piles of laundry and many messy moments—will help her feel comfortable sharing her life with you.
Be encouraged—the work you do by investing in another woman matters.
3. Follow Up
If the woman you’re mentoring asks you to hold her accountable or shares a difficult part of her story, make sure to follow up with her in the next few days. Sharing parts of our past can make us feel unlovable or unworthy. You may be the first person she opens up to about past sin, past hurts, or broken dreams. Meet her with love, acceptance, and grace as she shares. And if she needs accountability for current sin struggles, give her that. Knowing that you’ll ask about these struggles may be just what she needs to help her in the fight.
4. Pray Regularly
Our prayers for one another are a gift. Pray regularly for the woman you’re discipling. If you come across a verse in your own study that is applicable to your discussions, send it to her and pray it for her. When you are struggling to know how to help, ask God to give you wisdom and discernment. Cling to his promise, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
Be encouraged—the work you do by investing in another woman matters. You may not always see fruit immediately, but the Lord is at work in you and through you as you offer support to a younger woman.
This article is adapted from Growing Together: Taking Mentoring beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa B. Kruger.
Older women, read Titus 2, and be encouraged to embrace your calling to train younger women in the church.
Has the church neglected one-on-one discipleship? Why should an emphasis on this kind of intensive discipleship be recaptured today?
The discipling life is an others-oriented life. It labors in the power of God to proclaim Christ and present others mature in Christ.
Let’s talk about why we should take the Titus mandate seriously and not miss God’s rich provisions for our growth in grace.