After teaching Bible study for more than 10 years, I noticed that the Christian women who attended often did not live any differently than the women who never cracked open a Bible. I struggled while trying to figure out the disconnection between what the women claimed to know in contrast with their daily life choices. After careful study of Scripture, observations within the church, and reflecting on my personal life, it dawned on me that generally within the timeframe of my ministry, discipleship and mentoring had not been a priority in many American churches.
Three years ago, I partnered with a few women to launch a small group ministry to meet this need. Within one year of launching that ministry, we had more women commit to small groups than we had leaders to serve them. Now, after moving to a new location, I have worked with a ministry partner to lead a team of ladies who intentionally mentor approximately 60 women and have been doing that successfully for one year. Women are hungry for discipleship and understand the blessings that can come from committing to it.
What Is Mentoring?
Some refer to mentoring as the "Titus 2 mandate." Though it sounds kind of rigid, I like that description because it is quite appropriate. In Titus 2, we see specific examples of the practical lessons old men and women should pass down or teach younger men and women. The entire Bible reveals that teaching and training in this manner is not just a "good idea"; it is a biblical responsibility with dire consequences when not fully obeyed.
The whole purpose of the book of Proverbs is to teach young men how to live holy lives and make wise decisions. The message given to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6: 5-7 reads, "And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." The chapter continues reinforcing this message and includes a warning in Verse 12: "be careful not to forget the Lord." Mentoring is important so that those of us who are prone to wonder (that means all of us) do not forget the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6 reveals that mentoring is not simply teaching and training. In his book Mentor Like Jesus, Regi Campbell writes, "Mentoring is not about coming to know something; that would be education. Mentoring isn't about learning to do something; that would be training. Mentoring is about showing someone how to be something. It's about becoming a learner and follower of Jesus Christ." This is what Jesus did as he walked the earth; he showed his disciples how to be more like he is.