As a sophomore in high school, I was ready to learn to lead. On the Summer Servants youth group mission trips, the upperclassmen mentored and shared with the sophomores to prepare them to help lead the next year’s trip. I was eager to help and to learn to lead.
But I didn’t have the opportunity to learn from them. For a variety of reasons, none of our upperclass leaders were able to participate on the trip. This left a handful of eager, but inexperienced, sophomores taking the reins of leadership for the younger students. While the adult leaders helped us, I clearly remember missing the mentoring of a couple of the senior girls. These were the girls I planned to take over from in a year or two.
Without the upperclassmen’s involvement, a few other sophomores and I tried to shepherd the rest of the team. While God worked on the trip and we had productive ministry, the lack of mentoring was felt keenly. This generational gap hindered the effectiveness of the team’s gospel work. As a sophomore, I had to lead.
On that same trip, I was able to encourage a handful of junior high girls on the team after a discouraging evening of evangelism at the beach. As we sat by the street corner waiting for the rest of the team, we learned to pray for the work God was doing in and through our team members.
Inspired by what they experienced on the trip, these girls were eager to keep learning about prayer. So I started a small group for them and we studied a book on prayer. Along with a youth group leader, I taught and mentored these girls who were only a couple of years younger than me. While I mentored the girls, my leader invested in me. Together, we studied the Word and learned about prayer. This small group of young teenagers grew in their ability to live out the Gospel because someone only a couple years older mentored them.
Titus 2:3-5 gives a model of older women mentoring younger women:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Mentoring is a need in our lives, and it is a command of Scripture. It’s something we must do in order to effectively live out the gospel of Christ, just like my group of praying junior high girls. When it is missing, the church suffers, just like my missions team did.
No matter how young you are, there is a younger woman you can invest in. No matter how old you are, there is another woman you can learn from.
Can you identify someone who has mentored you? How can you thank her? Is there a younger woman you should invest in? Is there an older woman you can intentionally learn from? I challenge you to look for ways to make mentoring a part of your life.