Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mentoring: A Blessed Call (Titus 2:3)

As I look back over the last few years of my Christian walk, I’m amazed at the surprises the Lord brings me. One of them is how much of a blessing it is to mentor a young woman. After going to an interdenominational woman’s Titus 2 for several years, I really was struck with the desire for this teaching to be implemented at my local church.

As I study the entire book of Titus in all of its three chapters, I noticed something very important. Paul is writing a letter to his protégé, Titus, who was planting a church in Crete, which is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The book of Titus is a very basic and fundamental outline of the organization of a group of believers (church). Chapter one speaks of the requirements of the overseers and leaders and how to protect against its enemies. If we skip over to chapter three, it gives us a summary of the Christian’s responsibility to the world. All of these things are being taught in Bible teaching churches today which is a good thing, but when I get to chapter two and compare it to the way modern churches are ran today, this beautiful doctrine has become obsolete in our response to the young women as well as the young men. We are called to mentor a younger woman within our church.

We assume the responsibility of helping others on the pastor, youth/college pastors or any other trained individual. Because we have this unbiblical view, we ignore the need of one on one personal discipleship and our young people are left with nobody to help them with practical day to day. I can’t imagine how much churches would flourish spiritually if all of us would act in accordance with this scripture within the body of believers, not to mention help equip young people. Our pastors are often overwhelmed with all of the family problems within the flock, and not spending enough time in their study so they can feed us.

Books have replaced so much of our call to mentor. Case and point; the book "The Excellent Wife" from Martha Peace was the hot item when I was first married. It's a fine book, but I took a chapter in it WAY too seriously. The chapter (which is controversial) was about reproving your husband as you would any other brother in Christ. (Not sure about that. I will use the example of Esther on making an appeal in a later blog.) I marched in the living room and rebuked my husband for his "idol" of football. It didn't got over well to say the least. My countenance was disrespectful, and I appeared a self righteous brat. Even though books can be a good instrument, they lack the personal needs of a unique individual. I needed a spiritual mother to admonish me to be sober, check my motives (which were not pure at all), and be that quiet and gentle spirit as 1 Peter 3 calls me to be.

On the other hand, I'm encouraged to see the seeds of a reformation of Titus 2 as I visit churches in my town, whether that would be in a form of a news letter, the pulpit, or a class. Titus 2 is making a come back and it is Gods doing. I see the plea to mentor young people as it is mandated in scripture.

With all of my zeal, the Lord was teaching me a lesson in humility. I wanted to start a ministry in my church because I saw this gaping hole much by my own experience as a young woman, and the complaint of others. We started a Titus 2 Bible study with much excitement. The first year went well with about ten women. As we were preparing for the second year, my church went through a split taking the majority of the women in the study away. We were left with two young women in their early twenties just starting out in their adult lives. My partner and I were disappointed, but we committed ourselves as though we were ministering to many women in hopes others would eventually come. Throughout the year, some would come and go, but these two young women eagerly came faithfully week after week. After the study was over and a few months passed with my enthusiasm waned, I get a call from these young ladies wanting to go out to lunch. In my shame, I got so distracted with my big visionary ideas that I forgot the most fundamental part of Titus 2; the call to being an older woman to a younger woman.

Spending time with these two young ladies has been by far more of a blessing than any big ministry. This is God’s real call. I have to admit, I would rather stand in front of a large audience of people, than sit across a table from a younger woman. It’s scary. So much of our modern Christianity in America has “curriculized” ministry so much that we’re paralyzed with fear of not doing it right or saying the wrong thing. Well, let me ask, what does it take to qualify to be that older woman? As I move through this passage of Titus 2:3-5 it doesn’t say we need to be biblical scholars or have a counseling certificate.

“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things” Titus 2:3 (NKJ)

The older women: Many Bible scholars that I respect say that this requires gray hair old ladies. We certainly welcome your wisdom dear saints if you’re out there, but it says older, not necessarily old.

Be reverent: We must strive to be reverent. In other words, to have a deep exalted view of God that is in pursuit of a holy life to glorify Him. Our behavior is to be respectful especially to our husbands. To be a godly woman is to be nourished by the Word constantly, and know sound doctrine.

Not slanderers: If you have a bad habit of wanting to know the scoop in the church, or are urged to share personal information about others, than I would seriously examine yourself and ask the Lord to help you repent. This disqualifies you as being a trusted person, and your motive is not help a younger woman, but to gratify your own desires. Gossiping is not only a serious offence to the person that you're gossiping about, but it's a serious offence to a holy God. He puts it in the same company as murderers (Romans 1:29). Many times a younger woman will share things that are personal about people you might know, or even attend the same church. She will be seriously wounded if it is shared even under the veil of a prayer request. Keep it to yourself! I believe much of the reason why Titus 2 is not implemented in the church in a practical way is because of people being burned by gossipers.

Not given to much wine: I know this is obvious, but in the ancient world, wine was widely used as the drug of choice. When you’re addicted to a controlled substance, your perspective is greatly skewed. This also includes prescriptive medication. This is a epidemic today as millions, including church goers, are addicted to prescriptive drugs.

Teachers of good things: Life experience in its triumphs and defeats are all good. The Lord gives us a lifetime to share. So much of what I hear from a lot of women is from Dr. Phil, media, cultural perspectives, or other books that are not biblically sound. Many people in Christian circles today believe that the Bible is inspired, but the question that remains, do you believe the Bible is sufficient? “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If you’re in a situation that you don’t know an answer, than let her know you’ll try to get back with her. You’re better off not having an answer than to give wives tales. It will mean the world to a young woman if you can only take the time and just pray with her. It’s far better than indifference.

“that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:4-5

Experience: You need to have some experience in your life in child raising and being a wife. Some parents have this notion that Titus 2 can be learned from older Christian youth. How can any young woman learn how to love their husband and children if the mentor never marched through the trenches? Now, there are exceptions. Many older women who never been married can still be a mentor, but again, she must be mature, reverent, and teacher of good things due to her knowledge of scripture and wise due to her life experiences.

Being a good example: loving your own children and husband, and being a discreet, chaste, good homemaker, and being obedient to your husband. Much of the wives behavior can be so destructive that the word of God can be blasphemed.

Finding a younger woman: Pray about it. Send a card to a young woman from your local church. Greet her every Sunday. She may start sharing and open doors for a wonderful friendship.

Making time: Believe me; I understand the stress of time. Being a busy mom with a part time job has its challenges. Remember, you’re the boss of your calendar. A once a month trip with a new young friend to Starbucks might be the break you need from your busy life. More than likely, you’re going to be the one who will be blessed; I know I am.