At a recent YOULead training event, this question was raised: “It is the heart’s desire of our women’s leadership team to have intergenerational mentoring groups (spiritual and practical) available to the women or our congregation.” Then she listed the following 3 questions which I will respond to with some ideas.
1) What would be a good starting age for the young women/girls to participate in such a group? I think if you ask our LifeWay Girls ministry specialist Pam Gibbs, she would say YOUNG! If girls grow up understanding Titus 2:3-5 and have experienced it from middle school on, they will be more likely to mentor others as well. Why not encourage the older women to mentor college and 20 somethings, the college to mentor the high school girls about to enter college, the high school girls mentor middle school girls about to enter high school. They can share things that prepare for that next step, things to avoid, resources to help them as they enter that new phase of life. All of us are called to mentor, and be mentored no matter the age. Start instilling that principle at a young age, and it will become a natural part of growing as a woman and as a daughter of the King.
2) How many girls/women should be in a group? There is not one answer here. I think mentoring should be a part of anything we are doing with women and girls, whether a Sunday morning Bible study or a small group to teach them a practical skill like baking a cake. It really depends on the plan and on the purpose for that particular pair or group. But even if you mentor in a group, you need plenty of “older” women, or shall we say “wiser” women to be available to connect one on one. We are about to start something at LifeWay, designed by the younger women, to connect our generations of female employees for prayer and mentoring. I will keep you posted and I’ll let you know how it goes!
3) What are some resources for planning, facilitating, leading such a group? If you desire a formal mentoring program such as Woman to Woman Mentoring, designed for more one on one time together, that would normally include two women, possibly 3. If you want to teach a group of women how to cook or some other skill, consider, Apples of Gold, a six week nurturing ministry or Apple Seeds for younger girls.
For more help regarding women’s ministry and mentoring see these resources and articles:
What are you doing to promote mentoring relationships in your church? Share them with us in the comments.