When I was in college I had a sweet older woman in the faith who did life with me. She would edit my papers and help me study for exams. She folded my laundry when I was too buried in homework to do it myself and often tore me away from my studies to get a blizzard at Dairy Queen. She wept and prayed for me when I was far away from the Lord. There were many nights she stayed awake with me until the wee hours of the morning speaking truth into my rebellious soul. She celebrated with me when things in life were worth celebrating. She wept with me when my fiancé broke off our engagement my junior year and walked right beside me as I learned to navigate life in the dark season that followed. The lessons I learned from her are invaluable to me. She challenged me to be a woman of the Word. She taught me the importance of living life with integrity and being a woman of godly character. She taught me how to walk in relationship with other women and not to see them as projects to be fixed but as women who need to be pointed to Jesus.
In Paul’s letter to Titus he gives us guidelines for building and cultivating mentorship relationships, but much of what Paul commanded has been twisted and distorted. Paul’s central focus in his letter to Titus is sound doctrine and the essential role it plays in shaping believers into the likeness of Christ. I think it is ironic that sound doctrine is the theme for Titus because we do not have a sound doctrine of mentorship.
In his letter to Titus, Paul writes, “In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered” (Titus 2:3-5).
Paul’s command is to the spiritually mature women of the faith. He commands us lead lives of integrity, godly character, and Christ-like actions so to teach the newer women in the faith to do the same.
Have you ever watched or assisted as a child learns to ride a bike without training wheels? You hold on to the seat as the child peddles down the sidewalk, learning to shift their weight and balance the bike. Your assistance makes them feel safe and helps them gain confidence in their own ability to ride the bike. Then comes the moment when you let go and watch as the child peddles down the sidewalk on their own for a short time before she crashes. You run to help her up, clean her scrapes, and wipe her tears. You pick up the bike and encourage her to try again because learning to ride a bike takes time and practice. Paul’s command for mentorship is a lot like teaching a child to ride a bike. As a spiritually mature woman in the faith you are to come alongside younger women in the faith and invest in their lives, teaching them to lead lives that exemplify Christ-like character. When they stumble and fall, you pick them up, dust them off, and encourage them to keep following hard after Jesus.
We are all the spiritually mature woman and the newer woman in the faith simultaneously. We are to invest in the lives of the younger women in the faith around us, while still being the younger woman that is being invested in. We are not projects to be fixed. We are women that are to walk beside each other, investing in and pointing each other to Jesus because only He can fix us.
Kate Lendley served as a Children’s Ministry intern at Springdale in the summer of 2014. She is a graduate of Liberty University with a degree in Women’s Ministry. She is married to Johnathan and they have a beagle puppy named Shiloh. After recently getting married they made their home in Salem, Virginia in the heart of Blue Ridge Mountains. They attend Fellowship Community Church and are life-group leaders for college age students. Kate enjoy good coffee, great books, and running with her run team in her spare time.