Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

You might answer a resounding “yes!” to that question, if either of the following are true:

  • Younger women, have you ever longed for the relationship of an older (and wiser) female to hold you accountable, to bounce spiritual ideas off of, to pray each other through life’s bumps?
  • Older women, have you ever felt the tug of the Holy Spirit leading you to a younger woman in order to encourage her, to listen to her, to equip her become more like Christ?

This kind of relationship, within the context of the church, is usually called mentoring. Successful mentoring can bridge the multi-generational gaps between women in the modern church.

Why mentoring? Because time has changed the way the church operates.  The early church met in believers’ homes in close proximity to each other. Women, who were primarily homemakers, had scads of opportunities to spend time together, with each’s godly contributions constantly rubbing off on each other. It was a VERY GOOD thing for those women to be in each other’s company.

The word mentor actually comes from Greek mythology. A wise man named Mentor was the guardian enlisted to care for Odysseus’ son while he was away during the Trojan War. Mentor was a friend, advisor and teacher to Telemachus, helping him grow into a noble-hearted, clear-thinking prince.

The word you will find in the Bible that is closest to “mentoring” is “merea.” This word is used a handful of times in Genesis, Judges, Samuel and Proverbs and is typically translated as “companion”(s). The actual word “merea” in Hebrew is a masculine noun that means “trusted friend and companion.”

Robyn Beaubien, contributing editor of http://www.womensministry.net, a site dedicated to the assistance of women’s ministries in the church, explains the role of a Merea versus Mentor this way:

Applied to a “mentoring” relationship, a Merea gives because she has. She does because she IS! A Merea does not feel obligated to serve so can check it off her list of good works for the day. A Merea is compelled by the love of Christ. A Merea is always actively loving and working for the benefit of others, while she herself lacks ‘no good thing’ and is satisfied (Psalm 84:11). A Mentor/Merea knows that before she sees changes in those around her, she must see changes in herself first. She is in the habit of abiding in God’s presence. In essence, we are to admonish one another to ‘be’ before we ‘do,’ and in so being (becoming), we shall be doing.

How about you? Where do you see yourself within this framework?

Personally, I find Christian mentoring a thrilling subject! I’ve been mentored in my Christian walk by godly women and have firsthand seen its benefits. I tend to reside on BOTH ENDS of the spectrum – -I would love to glean even more godly wisdom from my sisters who are further along in the faith than I am, YET  I would love to engage in this sort of relationship with a younger sister, if the Lord gives me the chance–

So, let’s begin a discussion. Write in the COMMENTS section below under this blog post, or respond on Facebook:

 

  •    Where do/would you personally fit in a mentoring ministry?
  •    Does your church presently have a mentoring ministry?
  •    How did your mentoring ministry start?
  •   What were some of the challenges of beginning this type of ministry, if your church has one?

 

Thanks ahead of time for your answers! We will visit this subject more in the future, I’m sure, as God leads and equips more of us to “be our sister’s keepers.”

***Would you pray with me? Father, thank You that You created women’s hearts to love and to care deeply for others. . . You made us nurturers and keepers of the hearth. . . We thank You for the Merea relationships/ministries You have already put together and pray Your continued blessings upon them. . . .Would you show those of us in the beginning stages the if, when, and how (if indeed that time ever comes) of implementing a successful mentoring/Merea ministry?. . . .  We realize that only by much prayer and the Holy Spirit’s leading will this come to pass. . . .and not through our wishes alone.  May it be a ministry supernaturally ordained by You, to accomplish that which You desire. We leave this request in Your hands. . . and will commit to praying eagerly that Your Will be done. May You receive all the glory!  In Jesus’ all-sufficient Name we come, Amen.***

Remember, LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS! We want to hear from everyone, Ladies!

Lookin’ up,

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Comments

  1. I fit into both categories of mentoring. There are times when I am being mentored by more experienced of spiritually mature women, and times when I am mentoring others through ministries like MOPs. Our church does not have a specific ministry, but younger and older women are encouraged to build relationships through various activities and groups. For now I prefer it this way rather than an actual program because the relationships feel more authentic and natural. The ladies in our church seem to naturally gravitate this way and it is really beautiful to see!

    • sislynstewart says:

      Thanks for your comment, Melissa! It is beautiful to see the Lord work these kind of relationships out in His own way, in His timing. May God continue to bless you and the other ladies in your church!

  2. Pam Francis says:

    I have never been in a formal mentoring situation except with school! I have, however been mentored unofficially by several women in my church as I was growing in the Lord. Although not official, those women took their roles very seriously and were key in my Christian walk! I know for sure that God put them in my path. They modeled so much for me and invested in my growth very purposefully. I would love for us to do a mentoring program at church! We are working on it!!! I can’t wait to hear what women will say about how to get started. I, like you, Jean, am eager to learn more from older women and also to be a blessing to a younger woman. Let’s get this thing started!

    • sislynstewart says:

      Thank God for those wonderful women who’ve gone the extra mile to invest in other women. . . .else WE would not have had the benefit of that godly wisdom and as you said, Pam, godly patterning for our lives. What a blessing they have been and continue to be!

      I have read it over and over again concerning the subject of mentoring: It will take PRAYER, PRAYER, and more PRAYER to find the How. As we seek His direction, He will show us the way. . . .

  3. Thanks for sharing about this topic Jean! For me, “mentoring” and “discipleship” has looked very different over the years in different seasons of life. I used to have a very specific definition of a discipleship relationship but the Lord is showing me that it can look many different ways. As women I believe Titus 2 is our clearest instruction on mentoring other women. So I believe this is where we should look to see what is “good” to teach younger women and what we should look to older women to teach us. And in general I believe Matthew 28 gives us the command to go make disciples. So with those 2 passages in mind, discipleship/mentorship is not optional…it’s commanded. By God’s grace I’ve been able to be mentored by several older women over the years and each of them have played a valuable role in my spiritual development. I’ve also been priviledged to pour into younger women over the years. These relationshps certainly look different now (with 4 kids) then they did when I was single or married without kids. As far as a church program or womens ministry program…we’ve debated over whether or not to have a “program” for mentoring. The greater hope is that as men and women are under the regular teaching of God’s Word they would be doing life together with other believers in smaller groups and as they do life in community there would be relationships form towards intentional discipleship naturally. I don’t think it’s wrong to have a mentoring program but I also don’t think it’s necessary. I think women need to be encouraged to be intentional on both ends…pursuing an older women to glean from and pursueing younger women to mentor. And as a married woman I’m finding that the most effective way to this is in line with my husband as much as possible. I love being a part of his ministry and it makes the most sense to mentor women that are within his sphere of influence…etc. So, because my husband oversees the college ministry and internship program at our church, I find myself naturally mentoring college women and interns at our church. I’m also passionate about mentoring happening through the local church. We should never feel alone in mentoring someone because they are not only getting time with us they should also be getting time in the gathering of believers and small group study. It’t not as effective to pour into someone who is not willing to first be committed to the church gatherings and small groups. So there are a few of my thoughts on this topic. I love being sharpened by older and younger women in the faith!

    • sislynstewart says:

      I agree, Liz. Like you said (and Melissa also, in her comment from above), mentoring or discipling should occur naturally. It should be an off-shoot of the regular teaching of God’s Word. But it’s not always happening in the church as it should.

      Sometimes I think perhaps some of us “older” ladies (and I include myself in this category) feel a pull toward mentoring but for several reasons, we never pursue it. One reason could be that our older ladies may not feel they KNOW the younger ladies in the church well enough to inquire about this kind of relationship, because of the two kinds of worship services that exist at Ridgecrest. Most of the older crowd tends to go to the blended worship, and the younger set enjoys the contemporary service. They don’t regularly rub shoulders with each other, or particpate in small groups together. So there is a wide gap of familiarity between the groups that must be overcome. Another reason I think it’s not happening naturally is that older women sometimes feel intimidated by younger women and wonder if they are “qualified” enough to have this kind of relationship with one of them. With this kind of relational backdrop in place, it certainly makes it more difficult for women to pursue relationships with each other at different ages, though not IMPOSSIBLE.

      If the Lord leads, possibly we could/should offer to some of the older women who feel called of God (and younger women, too, if they’ve never mentored someone younger than themselves) basic biblical training to guide them in making these relationships, at least until it becomes more of a “normal thing.”

      I see the wisdom in so much of what you’ve said. . . .it’s a lot to pray through and digest. I so appreciate your insights on mentoring in all the various ways you’ve seen it implemented. :) )

  4. I have been mentored by younger women at RBC without their ever knowing. I have watched their enthusiasm in working for the Lord. I have seen them embrace their Sisters in Christ in joy and in despair, and always they prayed. To me, as a Senor that is an awesome sight to see and it has helped me in my growth as a Christian after a long hiatus being away from the church and doing what I know I should have been doing for Him. I have been convicted that we need a mentoring program with the Holy Spirit leading us. As I have often said, we Seniors can learn a lot from the younger ladies, and the younger ladies from the Seniors. I don’t believe there will be an age differentiation in Heaven; thus, I believe we can put that age difference aside as servants of God while we still live on earth and be mentors to each other, giving God the glory for anything we may accomplish for a loving and merciful Father.

    I don’t have a degree on paper that says I am qualified to be a mentor, but there is a quote that I think about when it comes to being a servant for God in any capacity…”God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” As a Senior, I believe God still wants me in the race for His glory. So, I’m praying to be there for others as guided by the I AM. I agree with Pam, let’s get this going. We can succeed if we keep this in mind…”God grades on the Cross, not on the curve”

    • Thanks so much, Ann! You’ve added another dimension to this discussion, and your example and enthusiasm as one of our “Seniors” (though I don’t think of you that way) is awe-inspiring. And I agree, it’s a two-way street, that older women can benefit and learn a lot from the younger ladies as well. We can mentor each other. . . that’s what Liz said above about “being sharpened by older and younger women in the faith.”

      Can’t wait to see what God will do–!

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