Note: This is a portion of the seminar Gretchen had prepared for the July WMCLB Convention. She was unable to attend, due to the birth of her sixth child.
As our culture examines gender roles and what they mean for the Church, women’s ministry has been reexamined, questioned, and turned upside-down. There is a stream of blog posts and articles—with the theme, “everything that is wrong with women’s ministry”—that tries to diagnose why the younger generation doesn’t really seem interested.
Everyone has a theory: Perhaps younger generations don’t like the crafting aspect of women’s events. It may not be hip enough. Or maybe with the rise of an overburdened generation of women expected to “have it all,” some struggle to see the purpose of a women’s ministry in their already overfilled lives.
The question keeps appearing: What do younger women want?
It’s not a bad question. It’s just the wrong question.
It’s not that their opinion is void. It’s that God already gave a blueprint for women’s ministry. We should be moving towards that, rather than aiming to have more participants or more flashy events. We should seek to be biblical.
Titus 2 is God’s amazing blueprint. There are areas in the Church that simply cannot be fulfilled by men. There is a ministry that is distinctly female.
“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, ESV).
1. “Older” is a relative term. A twenty-year-old may mentor an adolescent woman, or an eighty-year-old may mentor one who is sixty. If there is a woman in your circle who is younger than you, then you are an older woman.
2. When an older woman gossips, complains, or is over-indulgent, it will destroy the ministry of mentorship. If there is no fruit of God’s Spirit, there will be no influence. A woman must be able to keep a secret if she wants younger women to confide in her. If she is always bad-mouthing her husband, will others ask her advice on marriage?
3. Mentoring involves specific teaching about: what is good, loving their husbands and children, being self-controlled, pure, kind, being submissive to their husbands…
I look at this list and see what I personally struggle with—being kind, loving, self-controlled and working at home. Regardless of whether we work inside or outside the home, we all struggle with juggling it all.
There are questions about submission. What if your husband wants you to do something that you feel is wrong? What if there is trouble in your marriage? These struggles and questions are why we need mentors who have soaked their lives in Scripture. This requires godly wisdom, and clarity. Younger women need someone invested in their lives.
A strong mentoring ministry in a church causes a ripple effect in the community, reaching others for Christ at the foundational level: the home.
Gretchen Ronnevik is a farmwife, mother and teacher to six children. She is a writer, designer, and aspiring Biblical scholar.
Follow Gretchen at: www.gretchenronnevik.com