A hot topic for women’s ministry for years now has been mentoring. At times it works powerfully as a formally established ministry in the church, such as Woman to Woman Mentoring. But much of mentoring happens without even calling it mentoring because it happens as we go about our lives and connect with women in different generations. Our lives are made richer and we walk deeper with Christ as we invest in other women’s’ lives and as they invest in ours. Read this post by guest blogger Lorie Keene.
I have been recently asked to speak to a group of women on the concept of mentoring. As I am pondering through all the different things I can say or share with them, the theme that keeps coming to my mind is simply, love. Mentorship is a wonderfully, flexible concept. It can be as formal and scheduled as one desires. Yet, it can also be very fluid.
In the past, I had the honor of benefiting from various forms of a more formal style of mentorship. I met one on one with co-workers on set days to study Scripture and I met with students to discuss specific life issues. Both were great experiences. At this stage in life, I have to employ both styles. I intentionally meet with a small group of women in my home weekly, to mutually encourage and mentor in Scripture and life issues. Yet, I am also personally benefiting from a very casual mentorship from an elderly lady in my congregation. Although we have never formally used the term, mentorship is definitely happening.
We did not enroll into any programs or fill out any cards stating a desire to mentor or be mentored. She simply decided to begin loving me and my family. When I show up at church with two small children clinging to me, she appears at my side and graciously helps in any way needed. There are days when I am at my wits in when I receive an unexpected phone call stating she has a dinner prepared for my family that she would like to drop off.
After a while of receiving this undeserved love, I began to feel close enough to her to ask simply life questions. Although this wonderful mentor has not attended any Bible colleges or seminaries, having walked with the Lord for nearly 70 years has granted her wisdom I desperately need to hear.
Lately, I have sought her wisdom while sitting cross legged on her living room floor searching through piles of discarded fabric she is giving me to practice my sewing. She is an experienced seamstress and has offered to teach me some of her skills. I had never previously sewn an item in my life worth mentioning, yet because of her love and interest in me, I am interested in the topic. And more importantly, growing because of the seeds she is sewing into my life.
I often hear women confess a shyness of mentoring out of fear they have nothing of worth to offer someone younger. Let me encourage you. If you simply set out to love a young women that the Lord has placed in your circle of influence, she will be blessed. Whether you are an excellent cook, seamstress, gardener, homemaker, or any hobby enthusiast; use what you are passionate about to encourage the young women around you. Regardless of how ‘put together’ the young moms in your church may appear, trust me, they need you, your experience and your love. Reach out to them through your individual giftedness, and you will be surprised and the seeds you too can sew into love.
Lorie Looney Keene earned both a Masters of Divinity in Christian Education and a Masters of Theology (Th.M) from Southern Seminary, where she worked for three years as The Assistant Director of Women’s Programs. Prior to working at Southern Seminary, Lorie served in Poland with the International Mission Board and has over seven years experience as an ER nurse. She is the author of Pull Up a Chair by New Hope Publishing, as well as a contributing author to Journey Magazine. Lorie lives in Tullahoma, TN where her husband, Stephen is the Youth/Education Minister at Highland Baptist Church . She is a Sunday School teacher and leads a weekly small group for women. Currently, Lorie is enjoying the role of stay at home mom to her children Elijah and Emma.