Titus Two TODAY, Part One

Lately, I've heard many young Christian women, unmarried, wives, and mothers alike, asking a simple but profound question: "WHERE ARE THE TITUS 2 WOMEN IN MY REAL LIFE?" Yes, we see the Beth Moores and Cynthia Healds, and the Debi Pearls and Kay Arthurs of the Christian world, but somehow, this doesn't seem like what Titus 2 is calling for, does it?
"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."
Titus 2:3-5 sounds more like in-person, real-life training. That's not to say that the Christian women authors and teachers aren't fulfilling a significant and important role in the body of Christ. But it's not the same as Titus 2 style mentoring. I did a poll a while back and have received many e-mails since, and have personally found that most women don't really know how to go about this. Young women don't always know how to *find* a mentor, and older women often don't know how to *be* a mentor. Some women seem really good at this, and others go about it somewhat subtly, but I think there are definitely Christian women that are falling through the cracks, on both ends of the spectrum. I have wondered in my mind for a while what I could do to change the situation.

I thought about writing a book (I'm always thinking about writing a book...) directed towards mature Christian women as a collection of testimonials and requests from young Christian women ASKING for this type of teaching in their lives. I've talked with other women about starting up mentoring ministries at my home church in America.

And lastly, I have thought about writing about it here and at least trying to make a dent in my corner of the blogosphere... and so, for now, that's what I plan to do.

Consider this the "launching" of a conversation about this issue- I want to hear your thoughts and comments as we talk through this issue of mentoring/teaching/discipling. I'd love for you to leave any questions or concerns about Titus 2-style mentoring, and I'll do my best to either find resources that speak to your particular concern or question or I'll touch on it personally in this series. Tell me what has lacked or where you struggle in terms of this kind of woman-teaching-woman discipleship. I can't wait to hear from you and learn more together about this important role for Christian women!

20 comments:

Britt said...

I'm so excited about this topic because I feel like an "odd ball" sometimes. I'm a married, stay at home, 26 year old mother of two. The mothers of my four year old (my oldest) daughter's friends are between 5-15 years older than I am. So if I ever need advice from an older Christian woman who was once a 26 year old mother (and I have often found myself praying for a mentor and that I one day become a mentor of this sort)...well I still have yet to find someone. I guess "times have changed"; I feel that unfortunately our society has made other things more desireable than marriage and motherhood.

dcrmom said...

Great topic. I think this is lacking today b/c we aren't as relational as we used to be. Our communities are more transient, so there is less time to develop these relationships, and we lead busier lives. Plus our culture is very individualistic.

All that said, I think the passage was talking about the way things should be naturally. Sometimes in churches I've been in, they try to set up a mentoring program to emulate this model, but I don't think you can program this sort of thing. The kind of relationship where an older woman can truly counsel and mentor a younger woman has to happen naturally, and it takes time to build that kind of trust and vulnerability. Which goes back to the problem with our transient, busy, individualistic culture.

We young women say we want this, but are we really open to rebuke and correction when it comes? Most of us aren't. But perhaps it's because it comes from people who haven't earned the right? Or maybe it just isn't presented in love? I dunno.

I think to develop this sort of relationship in our modern culture, we younger women need to be the proactive ones. Older women probably think we're too busy, or uninterested, and don't want to pry. And often we are so segregated (larger churches rarely promote interaction among different age groups, what with all the segregated ministries - teens, singles, young marrieds, older marrieds, seniors . . .) that we just don't get the chance to get to know older more mature Christian women.

I'm really blessed to be in a church where there are several (dare I say many?) such women, but to develop a mentoring relationship, I would need to step out of my mommy friends and initiate a deeper friendship with one of the older women.

And you are challenging me to think about doing exactly this!

dariasmama said...

I was shocked recently when a younger friend admitted to me that I was her example of how to be a wife/mother. Ack! I'm not an "older woman"! I'm only 36. I still call my mom for advice on how to be a wife/mother. I still talk to the older women at congregation about it! I can't be her example.....

And then it hit me. Every one of us is the example for the person 10 years younger. My friend is 26. She is an example for the young unmarried women in our congreation of what being married means. I'm her example in what wifing and mothering means. My older friends and mom are examples of yet another stage of those relationships.

The danger in any of these "mentoring programs" is that we women have a tendency to think if someone does things differently, then she is doing it wrong or we are. If you want a mentor, be prepared to honestly say what of your own approach is working and you're going to keep. If you are going to mentor, learn to respect those boundaries and realize that they may change as time progresses.

Mentoring is not cloning...it is helping people reach their potential. :)

Mandi, Sean, Peyton and Dylan said...

Very good topic! I'm another one of those young moms who longs for a godly mentor.

Our women's ministry is currently relaunching the ministry, and our goal is to develop a mentorship program, but we're not really quite sure where to start, so I'm very interested to read some more of the comments and your thoughts!

Mrs. Elliott said...

Hi Jess,

I agree with you, Titus 2 type mentoring has been absent in most of the churches I've attended. Perhaps this lack is due to the misunderstanding of biblical womanhood.

~Sadie

Jennie Chancey said...

Write the book with the testimonies!!! This post's topic is something I touched on in the book Stacy McDonald and I finished this year, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. I get tons of emails from young women wanting to know where the older women are, and I get almost as many from older women wondering what they're supposed to do once their nest is empty. The answer is obvious: bring these two groups together! But it's not that easy. Many older women really are timid about offering advice or wise counsel and need the encouragement to speak up. I love this idea! As the Lord gives you time, run with it!

Blessings,
Jennie

bekah said...

Jess,
I have so longed for this type of mentoring. I have my mother nearby and love it, but I already know her approach and example. I'm ready to be challenged by someone else and sadly, I am not finding this in my church. So many of the older woman work or are just really hard to get to know. I have found someone I would love to have as a mentor from another church, but she lives far enough away and our paths only cross on email. Even so, I will get any advice I can from her while I keep searching. I agree that we younger women need to seek out older women as I can see how many may not feel worthy or knowledgeable enough for the job.

Anna S said...

Jess, this is definitely something I feel the lack of. My mother and I are best friends, but she was never married, and she can't imagine any other lifestyle but working outside the home, full time. We have constant frictions because of that. Sure, there are books, and wonderful blogs like yours, of older likeminded women, but a real-life mentor would be SO helpful!

thecurryseven said...

Me waving my hand wanting a mentor, too! I am 41, so definitely heading into the mentor, not mentee age range, but I'm sure I still have a lot I could learn. The problem is that we are just one of 2 families in our church that has a large family and homeschools. I'm not looking for a woman who has lead my exact life, but it is a little dismaying when (multiple times) a woman of a generation who could be my mentor come up to me and say things like, "I just don't know how you do it!" It gets tiring always being the oddball.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to have this type of mentor right now, and to eventually be this for someone else. Seems like most of the older women I know are either too busy, with clubs, golfing, etc... to be this kind of mentor, plus many of them were not SAHMs in their younger days to actually have been in my situation and now BE this kind of model. Even my mom, who WAS a SAHM, is now back at work in her 50's and probably would not be the type of role-model I would follow.


Cathy

Mrs. Brigham said...

I am very blessed to have my grandmother, mom, my aunt, and several of their friends to turn to for Titus 2 mentoring, but am always sad to see the lack of this in churches today. Many of my friends are searching for such help, mentoring, and friendship, but often are unable to locate the "older women" that the Bible speaks of. Even with many wonderful ladies in my life, I would still love to know other mentors as different people have such unique gifts, wisdom, talents, and experiences to share. It can never hurt to have opportunity to have all sorts of wonderful Godly people in one's life! :o)

Steph VG said...

What a great topic choice! I'm looking forward to what you bring to us. I think dcrmom hit it right on the head - speaking personally, of course, it is difficult to accept rebuke and criticism. And speaking as a pastor's wife, this really isn't something that usually can be successfully programmed (though there are exceptions). The Lord has blessed me with a dear friend who is the Titus 2 woman, but this is such a need in so many women's lives - not just the younger ones needing a mentor, but the "older" ones needing to acknowledge they have something to teach. May the Lord make us each teachable as we learn how to apply these truths in our lives.

wendy said...

I am one who desired a mentor for years, God did supply one woman who has been a blessing.
Now I am at the "older " woman stage of my life. My youngest is in the process of moving out.
I desire to be that older woman but have a fear of rejection. How do I reach out? How do you start to teach when you know that what you may have to say will not be accepted?
These are issues I know I need to deal with and get past. As the phase of active parenting is ending in my life I need to be used in another way.

Brenda said...

Dariasmama (comment #3) hit the nail on the head--we can fall on both sides of the coin. I am an "older" woman to my daughters--and their example. Also to very young girls or newly married women. But I NEED older women b/c my children are only 3 and 8. I have not walked nearly as many roads as they. One example, when my 8 year old was going to be retained...I was so upset. Then an older woman at church, whose children were all grown and married, said, "Yeah, we held our son back too. It really helped him." That was it. But it helped me see that this was a really small blip on the screen and she had to kind of search back in her memory bank to remember that it happened. She probably hadn't thought about it very much in the last 20 or 30 years!!!
I read an article (in a magazine--don't know which one) a few years ago about a church who tried to implement "mentoring" among their women. What they found is that it occured rather naturally as soon as the women got together. So, perhaps we need to stop splitting everyone up by age???? I attend a Bible class on Sunday mornings for "Young Families." I don't like that--give me the retired folks!!! I've been in groups with all retired folks and I learned SO SO SO much. And, they liked having us "young folks" in there with them. It was a win-win situation. Why do churches split everyone up by age? When I was a teacher--I grouped all my "very needy" children at one table for a few weeks b/c the aide who helped them during a portion of the day was pregnant and couldn't walk around all over the room. When she wasn't there--they just sat there and stared at each other. NO ONE at the table could help each other. They were all in the same boat. Hmmm....

Mrs. Jantz said...

Wow -- I think every one agrees that establishing a strong mentor/mentee relationship with another Christian woman is important but at the same time hard. I'm 24 and a stay-at-home mother of two (14 months and 10 days), and I'm definitely entering into a brand new phase of my life now that I've got two children. Most women simply can't believe I've got two so close together, but who can stop God's design?! I wish that there was a way to encourage older women to reach out to us younger moms. I'm blessed that both my mother and mother-in-law are close-at-hand, but it would be such a blessing to have a woman that I wasn't related to as a source of encouragement and unbiased AND biblical advice. Most of the women at my home-church seem to stick to women their own age, and it's frustrating. I would love to see more information on how even we younger moms can encourage these relationships since perhaps we are more desperate for them ;)

Heather said...

You and your readers may be interested in the ministry of Audrey Broggi at www.mfth.org. She is the wife of my pastor at Community Bible Church in Beaufort, SC, and started a Titus 2 ministry about 10 years ago. We are blessed to have many godly older women building into the lives of the younger ones at our church.

LisaM said...

Did you ever read the article by Elisabeth Elliot "A Call to Older Women" - I found it so helpful in my own thoughts.
http://www.elisabethelliot.org/newsletters2/sep.oct.1989.pdf

Rebecca said...

Let me just tell you that I love you guys and this kind of stuff really makes me mad. Why? Well, if you want to see my reasons written politely, please read dcrmom's comment.

The main reason it makes me mad is because the ministries in the church are so age-segregated that it makes it almost impossible to even meet people in other stages of life.

A year or more ago, someone I have since lost track of was blogging about having a titus 2 team or some such concept. That is, having multiple older friends, thereby relieving the one from the pressure.

Now, turning toward us olders, could it be that we don't want to be considered older? I have accepted that, even though I have only been walking with Christ for 16 years, due to my hair color, people are asking me questions. I am quite willing to pray with them, point them to scripture, and ask them what their husband thinks. That's at least something, isn't it?

Oh, and I babysit some, too. ;)

Gina said...

Hi Jess. I am in my mid forties, and much of my time of being a mom of young children (both of mine are in high school now) I felt alone. I even asked a couple "older"women to pray with me etc., and they did not have the time! I remember looking and looking, and longing, and they just didn't have the time. There were one or two who I have spent time with at times, but never consistantly. And, since the relationship with my mom is hard, I didnt have it there either. This experience has placed an incredible burden in my heart to BE THERE for younger women. My husband and I live and work on a college campus, and I try to reach out to young married women and moms as much as I can. It is such a burden on my heart!! I started a blog, 5 months ago, based on Titus 2, so please feel free to direct any of your readers there. My blog comes from my hearts burden for younger women. I don't want to be too busy!!

Gina said...

I had another thought. The older I am getting, the more I realize how little I know! I am in the word and striving to live a godly life, but I am feeling less and less inclined to offer advice. One thing I have found with the young women I know, in ther 20's and 30's, is that they can tend to come across as they know it all...that they don't need any input from an "old lady"! I have run across that so many times! It actually discourages me so much to have been in a conversation with a younger woman, and she is not teachable. It will sometimes cause me to be a little careful in getting involved with a younger woman. Time, trials, life, and aging does tend to mellow and humble you. So, I am feeling more and more like the only thing I have to offer young women is God and His Word. Many times I have found that is not enough for them. So, I don't think it is all the older womens fault either. It is both...
my blog address is www.chatswithanoldlady.blogspot.com
Feel free to give me any input that would help an "old lady" be a better, more effective older woman!!!