Many years ago, I started researching mentoring.  I felt it would be a great addition to our Women’s Ministry here at New Life and hoped to implement a program where we could match up the “older women” with the younger women following the Titus 2 example.

Likewise, 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. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 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.

I drew up the program and the paperwork and presented the idea at a Women’s Conference.  Almost immediately, there were eight wise “older” women who were interested in the program, but to my surprise, only two of them wanted to be mentors and the rest wanted to be mentored.  In my heart, I knew I had identified a need, but I didn’t know how to meet the need, because I was one of those that wanted a mentor.  Looking back on it now, and recognizing my immaturity in ministry then, I should have joined the eight of us together to learn how to become mentors, but I didn’t.  I connected a few women with the two women who said they would be mentors, but then decided to let the program fizzle.  I didn’t know how to prepare older women to mentor the younger women, I just hoped they’d know how, and I definitely didn’t know how to mentor the older women that I hoped to learn from.

Years have gone by, and I’ve learned a lot about Women’s Ministry.  I have mentored and been mentored as the ladies as New Life have learned how to minister to women together, but we have not tackled starting a formal mentoring program.  I’ve learned that a formal mentoring program may not be the best approach to meeting the needs of women who need a mentor and I agree, it isn’t what we need here.  What we need here is connection, it’s sisterhood.  My hope is that women become Soul Sisters who learn from each other as they study the word, pray, go through their daily lives, and serve God together.  There is a Biblical element of that sisterhood that is the older woman partnering with the younger woman to offer life skills coaching such as how to cook a turkey, get a child to sleep through the night, or organize a mudroom, Biblical training for spiritual growth and endurance through hard times,  and active listening during times of crisis or concerns.   We need each other and younger women need the “spiritual mothers” they can turn to with questions, with prayer needs, and with tears on days when life isn’t easy.

So, starting this Monday, at New Life, the Women’s Ministry will host a Women’s Connection: Mentoring Workshop.  This will not be a program, there will be no sign up sheets or procedure for matching up “older women” with younger ones.  It’s simply learning together with other women about mentoring.  This workshop is for those looking to find a mentor and for those who are interesting in mentoring.

Are you a mom who wishes you had one of those Titus 2 older women in your life?  Do you sometimes wish you could pour out your heart to someone who cared, but wouldn’t hold your hurts against you, or your husband, like your mother might?  Do you wish someone could help you figure out how to balance grace and mercy with training and punishment as you mother your children?  Are you looking for someone who has been through the things you are going through and who can help you hang onto hope that you will get through to the other side of this, too?  Do you have questions about where God is and what He’s trying to teach you?  Then, this mentoring workshop is for you.

Are you a woman who wishes you knew then what you know now?  Do you see younger moms, single women, or young married gals and wish you could whisper life-changing nuggets of advice and encouragement into their lives?  Were you able to pick up the phone and call your mom, your aunt, or your grandma, when you needed advice about marriage, mothering, friendship, cooking, cleaning, or even gardening and could offer that wisdom to a generation that doesn’t have that cross-generational connectivity with their own family members?  Do you have a little extra time now that you could give to a woman who desperately needs someone to listen and to speak into her life?  Has God given you insight into how He works and who He is that you could pass on in little pieces to strengthen the faith of another woman?  Do you want to be this older, wiser woman, someday?  If so, this mentoring workshop is for you.

It doesn’t have to be a long term, formal commitment.  Let me share this story about a mentoring opportunity God once gave me:

One day, I broke a tooth and couldn’t tolerate the pain of it anymore.  I called the dentist and they worked in an emergency appointment right after their lunch hour.  I arrived at the office, to find the waiting room empty.  I took a seat and looked through a magazine while I waited.  Within a few minutes, a woman and her young toddler arrived.  They checked in and she came and sat down next to me~ not one chair away, not on the other side of the end table to my left ~ but directly next to me, in an empty waiting room.  I was alerted, something was up.  I greeted her briefly and she said something about her little guy driving her to her breaking point.  I could see desperation in her face and immediately sensed that Jesus was the answer she needed.  I froze like a deer in the headlights.  I think I said something about her little guy being precious and gaga-ed over the cutie who was now throwing magazines on the ground.  I looked back at my magazine, turned the page aimlessly, and prayed for wisdom for a moment too long.  Just as I turned back to her to speak something that I hoped the Holy Spirit would say through me, my name was called and I grabbed my stuff and headed back to be tortured by the dentist (you know what I mean).  The whole time I was in the dentist chair, I begged God to let me have another chance with her, to let me see her again, but I didn’t.  I missed the opportunity to speak life giving, life changing words in her life.  I missed the chance to mentor her in that moment.

Imagine that I am looking at you face to face, deep into your eyes right now as I state this:  If you would know what to say in that situation, this mentoring workshop is for you.  We need your wisdom.  But if you’re more like I was, uncertain what to say when caught off guard, not sure how to share your faith with a woman in a check-out line, on a playground bench, or at school function, then this mentoring workshop is for also you.  We’ll discuss “mentoring in the moment” like my opportunity at the dentist and “mentoring for the long haul” which is a long term commitment to partner with one woman.  It’s so much more than a formal program.  Come and learn about mentoring in this four session workshop.  Monday nights, January 23rd through February 6th at 6:30PM and Saturday morning, February 11th from 9:00-Noon.  Childcare is provided.

Please purchase the book “Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring” by Ele Parrott for this class.

We will also be looking at the workbook entitled “Influence:  Living and Sharing a Life of Wisdom” by Pam Gillaspie and Jan Silvious available at  http://store.precept.org/p-1529-influence-brliving-and-sharing-a-life-of-wisdom.aspx  (but it isn’t required for this class, but may be a good resource for you).  If you cannot attend our workshop on mentoring, Precept Ministries is offering an online, self-paced class on mentoring based on this workbook by signing up at   http://deepandwide.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=c31834e7c1fe9e4a202328dde&id=0b29c29fe6

God Bless, ~Shelly

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