When discussing the biblical model for mentorship and women, we often go to Titus 2, which is a beautiful picture of cross-generational relationships. Recently, though, God opened my heart to a fresh understanding of these relationships in the book of Luke.
After Mary accepted the call to be the long-awaited Messiah’s mother, she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. Elizabeth was 80 years old and Mary was around 14. We know from Luke 1:39-45, that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the baby in her womb leaped with joy. Immediately, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and with excitement, she encouraged Mary with these words:
“You are blessed among women, blessed is the fruit of your womb, and blessed is she who believed.”
Remember, Mary had not yet shared her divine experience with Elizabeth, but the Holy Spirit gave Elizabeth the exact words to encourage Mary.
God used the Luke passage to remind me that, like Elizabeth, we must always be prepared to mentor others as the Holy Spirit leads and directs – and that includes women of all ages, even teen girls.
At the same time, after speaking at women’s events for over a decade, God opened my eyes to see that we typically group our ministries by age. The youth ministry, college ministry and women’s ministry often lack a connection. Yet God’s biblical model is not set-up to separate us by age groups but to bring us together.
I began to wonder, how can women’s ministry teams provide natural settings for generation-to-generation connections? Here are three suggestions.
- Women’s Events
Invite the high school and college girls to all of the women’s ministry retreats and events. These gatherings are a natural setting for mentoring. Throughout her years in junior and senior high school, my daughter attended most of the women’s retreats where I served as the retreat speaker. She sat in on the small group sessions, meals and conversations. Without knowing it, she was experiencing mentoring milestones in her young life.
- Connection Opportunities
Create monthly opportunities for women of all ages to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Urge the women who are further along in their spiritual walks to be encouragers to those who are just beginning their journeys with Jesus. Give them something all age groups can talk about to help build connections with one another.
- Bridge Building
Encourage women to pray for God to continually ready their hearts for divine conversations and appointments. Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship serves as a powerful example of bridging the age gap. Mary willingly journeyed to Elizabeth’s home. Elizabeth received her and even asked her to stay for a long visit.
Only the Lord knows the new friendships and relationships that will blossom as our ministries begin to purposefully include girls and women across the generations.
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