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At New Life, we’ve been especially gifted to receive a bounty of young adults, freshly out on their own. Many feel a sense of loneliness being away from home, either temporarily as they study at college, or truly “adulting” for the first time in the professional world. Could this sense of loneliness be linked to their sudden lack of nurturing relationships?
Titus 2 speaks to this kind of intentional, nurturing relationship that leads to maturity in Christ.
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love and in steadfastness. 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.”
In her book, Becoming God’s True Woman, Nancy Leigh Demoss describes the blessing that a church full of young people are: “They are a sacred trust. We must be good stewards of this gift. Many are first-generation Christians. Many are separated from their extended families because of the mobility of our society. We must exemplify the faith to them and we must teach them.”
There are plenty of reasons we can find not to be spiritual mothers or fathers, such as: thinking we have nothing to offer, a busy stage of life, being intimidated by bright young minds, and possibly, being stuck in a season of indulgence where it feels better to be served than to serve. We can always find an excuse, whether we are willing to admit it or not. On the other hand, there may be others who desire this, but simply don’t know how to get started.
Lauren Leisure, Class of ‘18 Texas A&M Education major, also did not know how to get started. One night at a Ladies’ Gathering she heard a story about the value of being mentored and was given the opportunity to sign up for a mentor. She says, “I never had a mentor growing up. My church back home didn’t have that. I didn’t see it as a big deal until I joined New Life and it was really emphasized. When I saw the sign-up sheet I knew it was the Lord saying, ‘Sign up. I’m giving you the opportunity.’”
Long time New Life member and schoolteacher, Katy Bardin, was on the list of mentors when Lauren signed up, and they had the mutual connection of teaching and running. Katy commented to Lauren,
“You were the first person to ask me to mentor them. My hesitation was, ‘Am I going to do this right? What do we do? Where do we start?’”
There is not special gifting you need to have or certain age you need to be in order to be a spiritual mother or father. Based on verses two and three in Titus, we can see that character and experience are defining qualities of a spiritual mentor. This is an opportunity for all of us, younger and older, to overcome fears and intimidations, selflessly work around schedule constraints and invest in those God has put in our lives.
Katy remembers having a faithful mentor while in college as well as right out of college and she recalls her experience being mentored, “I saw how much growth came out of that for me and I wanted to do that for someone else. God has done so much through it for me and it’s now my responsibility to pour into someone else intentionally.”
As we live in relationship with each other, teaching becomes a way of life -- not just a sit down transfer of information. Demoss remarks that,”This is not just formal bible instruction. This is teaching a way of life as we live in relationship with one another.” Katy and Lauren talk about life, do studies together and grab dinner. The ways to go about mentoring are as wide and varied as the mentors themselves, and work best when they coincide with the natural rhythms in your life.
Would you be willing to put yourself out there to either be mentored or to mentor those in our church body? Titus 2 commends us to these types of relationships “so that no one will malign the word of God.” He says we do it so that “those who oppose (us) may not ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” He expects us to steward this responsibility well that we “may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
When asked what she would say to others considering mentoring or being mentored, Katy encourages,
“Give it a shot. You’ll always have an excuse not to do it, whether it’s time or feelings of inadequacy or saying ‘I’m not in the right life stage to be doing this!’ Be faithful with it. It’s hard work to protect the time, but it’s worth it.”