Don't Let Women's Ministry Turn People Into Projects
When it comes to guidance for mentoring relationships among Christian women, it seems there's only one place to go: Titus 2.
I wonder if the Apostle Paul imagined his instructions on transmitting faith to the next generation would become a checklist for church mentorship in the 21st-century, as women try to teach others "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 2:4-5).
In recent years, various iterations of these Titus 2-themed "matchmakers" programs and other church curricula have brought Christian women together for the sake of discipleship. Although Titus 2 includes similar coaching themes for the relationship between older men and younger ones, the chapter has become shorthand among evangelicals for "women only." Very few programs apply the relevant passages to brand men's ministry.
These mentorship programs, in some evangelical circles, replace older models of women's ministries, which relied on ladies lunches and women's retreats. In her Her.meneutics post entitled "Why It's Your Job To Break The Women's Ministry Sterotype," Sharon Hodde Miller observed that the "doilies and teacups" events—ones often light on content, heavy on large group socializing—are fading away. These gatherings are, at best, a gateway for the kind of relationships ...1