The goal of Christian discipleship, according to Ephesians 4, verses 12 and 13 is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” As a Titus 2 Sister, your duty, as you come alongside younger women in the faith, is to help them in this maturation process – this growing up into the fullness of Christ. To do this well, you not only need to be a good listener and counselor, but you also need to be a theologian.
We must always keep in mind that the goal of our mentoring and discipleship is not simply to provide social interaction, counsel, and meet the felt needs of other women, but to aid in the overall building up of the body of Christ. While there is nothing wrong with sharing our cares and anxieties with one another when we come together, we mustn’t become so distracted by the emotional needs of our sisters that we lose sight of the main goal of our ministry: helping each other to “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature [woman]hood” in Christ.
Of course, we want to come alongside one another and “bear one another’s burdens”, and there absolutely is a time to just sit and talk about the things of life – trials and celebrations – and engage in “small talk”, but we should always have ruminating, in the back of our minds, as we spend time with our younger sisters in the Lord, that we have a high calling to make disciples, to “speak the truth in love” to one another, and to contribute to the maturation process of the body.
Let me see if I can give you a little illustration of what this type of mentoring looks like…
Let’s say that I’m hanging out with a younger Christian woman, and she begins telling me that she has concerns about her future: “Where should I go to college?”,she asks. “What if I spend four years getting a degree, and then I find out it’s not the type of work I want to do?” “What if College X is the best in my field, but I’m not ready to live that far away from home?” “How do I know what’s the right choice for me?” “When will I know I’ve made the right choice?” “What if I make a mistake?” These are typical questions that a young woman nearing the end of her teen years might ask.
Having gone away to college, myself, I could offer her some advice from my own experience: “I chose to go away to UCLA because…”, “I changed my major five times before I finally settled in one one that felt right. Here’s why…”, and “I knew, by my junior year, that I had chosen the right place because…”. I could also offer her general words of encouragement to help set her mind more at ease: “If you don’t like it, you can always return home”, and “Don’t let fear of making a mistake hold you back!” I most certainly should offer her Christian-based advice: “Pray about it, and give it all over to God. He’ll give you peace to know you’re making the right decision”, or quote a Bible verse: “Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your path – Proverbs 3:6”. Those would all be fine things to say, and they might be very helpful…
The question I need to ask myself when I’m mentoring, though, is, “Has what I just said done anything to help this young woman become a more mature disciple of Christ?”
… If all I’ve done is give her advice, then I need to keep leading and teaching.
If I’ve been listening well, I’ve not only heard the questions she’s been asking, but I now have some preliminary information that reveals, more importantly, what she believes about God, the Bible, herself, and the world around her. I can then begin exploring, with her, some of the areas where her thinking may be unbiblical, where she is failing to believe God and His promises, where she may have lost hope, or forgotten her identity in Christ.
This, my friends, is where the beautiful maturation process begins to take place!
This is where, as a Titus 2 Woman, I begin to take my hands off of the steering wheel and watch God begin to lead this dear sister not only in her decision making, but in becoming a young woman who is more conformed into the image of Christ through the teaching of His glorious Word!
In the case of the young woman above, I decide to use Psalm 139, to teach her about the omniscience, omnipresence, and sovereignty of God. As we spend time examining it, she begins to realize that she does not need to fear “making a mistake” in her choice of which college to attend, because “all the days ordained for [her] were written…before one of them came to be”. Then, she realizes that she doesn’t need to worry about being away from her friends and family because there is no place she can go that she will not be without God’s spirit. She then begins to see that the options and choices that lie before her are things to be embraced, not feared because God’s “hand will guide [her], [His] right hand will hold [her] fast”. Finally, she praises God for His intimate knowledge of her and stands in awe, like the psalmist, of His knowledge that is ‘too wonderful and lofty for [her] to attain’. In conclusion, she emerges from the discipling experience with a deeper knowledge of God, herself, and the world around her – a more mature sister in Christ, one who is growing up into Him who is the head, able to withstand the “waves and wind” that once threatened to dislodge her from her peace in Christ, and it is glorious! All I’ve done is bring an appropriate passage to the table to study with her (and pray through with her). What an honor and privilege it is, then, to witness God’s sanctification process work itself out in her life right before my eyes!
That is the aim and goal of our discipleship – so much more than offering advice and making each other feel better.
To get there (and I can’t stress this enough) we must first be theologians -we must know our Bibles if we are going to “speak the truth in love”, not just toss out Bible verses, or advice from our own experience and understanding. We must spend time looking at and learning the very words of God, pouring over every one of them so that we, like the psalmist, “may behold wonderful things” from His law, understand “the way of His precepts and statutes”, and “gain understanding” in order that we, too, can observe them, and then be a faithful counselor and teacher who leads younger women in the faith to do the same so that the body of Christ will be built up, and God will be glorified.
- Do you think of yourself as a theologian?
- Do you see the difference it makes in the maturing process when we move beyond offering our own advice and solutions to using God’s Word to lead other women to discover, for themselves the answers to life’s questions?
- Are you spending time, daily, reading the Bible to become better acquainted with it?
- What are your favorite methods for studying the Bible?
- How can knowing the Bible better equip you to be a more effective discipler/mentor?
- Who has God brought into your life that you can help equip for the building up of the body of Christ?