I have often heard women ask at both church and work for a mentoring program, no doubt caused by a healthy realization that there is always more to learn. Or perhaps the request is due to frustration with our lives and circumstances that we hope a mentor can miraculously help to fix. Regardless of the motivation, we know that mentoring is a Biblical concept. The apostle Paul told Titus that older women are to train the young women (Titus 2:3-5). So how do we make that happen?
Being matched through a mentoring program may sound easy, but it can also be a bit awkward. Your first get-together for what you both know is a “mentoring session” may feel like a first date with someone with whom your parents set you up. I find that many times the best mentoring occurs organically rather than through a program. I have personally benefitted from many people’s guidance both at church and work without ever hearing someone formally identify a mentor for me. Those relationships formed by having lunch together and sharing our various challenges and successes. Or playing card games that at first involved light conversation, but over time grew into deeper issues of the day and our lives.
Serving together in ministry is another great way to learn from someone as you hear her ideas, watch how she handles situations, and see what she considers to be most important. If you are already involved in ministry, it is quite possible you are being mentored and/or doing mentoring even though no one used that label.
Finding a mentor or mentee, requires getting to know other women in the church. While we do not have current plans for a formal mentoring program, Women’s Ministry does offer opportunities for such relationships to grow on their own. You can even dip your toe in to test the water first before plunging into the deep water of commitment. Our “entrance ramp” of involvement is fellowship events that require only a couple hours of commitment for you to come and connect with other Women of Grace. We usually have 2-3 of these events a year.
Next is our annual retreat. It begins on a Friday evening and ends on Saturday afternoon, usually less than 24 hours in total. But that’s enough time to give you a chance to get away from the normal craziness and routine of life to spend some extra focused time studying who our God is and communing with your sisters in Christ. Our next retreat will be May 4-5, 2018 with Megan Hill as our speaker. She is a pastor’s wife in New England and author of “Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches.”
Our highest level of commitment is our weekly Bible studies. They do require homework, but we believe the work is worth it because it gets you deeper into the Word and helps you learn how to study the Bible for yourself rather than be spoon-fed. Having said that, we encourage women to come even if they don’t complete all or any of the homework; it is still profitable time in Scripture as we discuss the passage together, share prayer needs, and “spur each other on toward love and deeds” (Heb 10:24).
So get involved and ask someone with whom you connect to get together for lunch or dinner or a card game. Maybe it will grow into a relationship that someday you will look back upon as mentoring.