JanetThompson Pink 2010.jpgI recently interviewed Janet Thomson , Christian author and speaker, and founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. She is author of several books including Woman to Woman Mentoring How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry (LifeWay Press).  Sharing life’s experiences and God’s faithfulness is the premise of Janet’s books and speaking. 

How have you seen mentoring in the church change over the last 15 years?
The church has become increasingly aware of the need for intentional mentoring, with a significant focus on helping women connect to each other. But facilitating and nurturing the mentoring relationships still has tremendous room for growth. Many women today live far away from family and long to spend time with another woman further along in her spiritual journey: a mentor willing to share godly wisdom and spiritual insight. Churches with a Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry have seen the value in helping women help each other.

You have written several books, but through each, you continue the thread of mentoring. Talk about how you did that in your “prodigal” book.
Yes, the thread of mentoring runs through my writing and speaking. The best compliment someone can give me regarding my books is that it’s as if I was walking along beside the reader through her journey. Titus 2:3-5 is the basis for the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, and I like to paraphrase those verses as: “Teach what you’ve been taught so you can train others to teach what they’ve been taught…” Teaching encompasses using life lessons God has taught you to encourage others going through something similar. Then someday those you have mentored will be ready to mentor others. Often the first step in our own healing is helping.

Mentoring is taking our been-there-done-that life experiences and sharing with another woman how God helped us through and He’ll be there for her too…and so will we. I was the mother of a prodigal and I, along with numerous mothers of prodigals, use our testimonies of God’s faithfulness to mentor and encourage other hurting parents in my book, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents. We share how God saw us through this difficult and heart-wrenching time and the things that helped us survive, maintain our faith, and keep praying for our daughters. And my prodigal daughter, Kim, along with other prodigal daughters, also mentor other parents and daughters by sharing their struggles during their wayward years.

How are you also mentoring as you developed the infertility book?
Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby: A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey is part of a “Dear God” series, the first being, Dear God, They Say it’s Cancer in which I mentor breast-cancer sisters from my own personal journey through breast cancer. Since not every reader has the same type of breast cancer as mine, 40 other breast-cancer-sisters also mentor from their journey.

Likewise, in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby, two of my daughters, along with other mommies and daddies-in-waiting, share their infertility journey and testimony of God’s faithfulness, even when their faith was waning. For many years women were hesitant to talk about infertility, and women suffered in silence, but today with 1 in 6 couples experiencing the struggle, women are desperate to talk and learn from each other and to obtain godly wisdom and council from those who have walked through this difficult journey before them. Most of my books and Face-to-Face Bible study series include a “Mentoring Moment” section. In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter  it was called Parent-to-Parent. Here is where I mentor through practical tips and encouragement.

What is the “key” to helping women develop a mentoring lifestyle whether or not they have a structured in their church? Always be looking at who you want to pattern your life after and looking over your shoulder to see who is patterning her life after you. Mentoring is living your life in a way that others replicate. For mothers of daughters, I ask women to consider if they are the woman today they want their daughters to become because we’re their closest role model of a godly woman. That may sound intimidating, but it shouldn’t; it should encourage us to live a life pleasing to God.

A mentoring lifestyle is open and vulnerable and willing to let God use you. God doesn’t give us character building experiences just for our own benefit. He’s going to put someone in our life going through something similar, and He expects us to willingly  reach out of ourselves to help that person. And I believe He’ll continue to put people in our path until we “get it” that our circumstance wasn’t all about us—it was about allowing God to use us to minister to someone else. Mentoring isn’t only crisis-oriented; mentees may be in a new season of life such as newly married, a new mom, or new in the community or at church.

You don’t have to write a book or be a conference speaker to impact lives. Like Jesus, it’s one changed life at a time.

How would you want to encourage women’s leaders to live out Titus 2:3-5?
I’m so glad you asked because I just wrote a book that does exactly that: The Team That Jesus Built: How to Develop, Equip and Commission a Women’s Ministry Team, releases June, 2011. I have been teaching on this topic for many years. As Women’s Ministry leaders, we need to be active in selecting and developing the next generation of rising leaders. Every ministry leader should be developing an apprentice and a team that can carry on in her absence: her team is her legacy.
 

Janet has a Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Masters of Business Administration from California Lutheran University. She and her helpmate husband, Dave, attend Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and have four married children and eleven beautiful grandchildren whom they love to tell about Jesus.

 

Comments

  1. I will be ordering these books for my ministry. One of our goals of this ministry is to set up a mentoring program all throughout the community. Accessing woman from other faith based churches that have “gone though” various difficulties and survived.
    We actually just set up our first one a few weeks ago. I had been counseling with a woman for 4 months. Her husband admitted to immorality and pornography. She was devastated. He friends told her to divorce him. Then someone told her of our ministry.
    She said to me by the 2nd month, that she wishes there was another woman she could talk to who survived this and thrived spiritually after. So, I said, “Let’s pray right now for that woman”.
    We did. That night as I was at my church, a couple came up to me and asked how the ministry was going and what they could pray about. I said that I need a woman mentor that has survived her husbands immorality and pornography. I saw her eyes well up, the husband smiled and walked away. She said, “I am your woman”. I had no idea she had gone through that. They are such a godly couple in our church.
    Well, I met with her and told her our desire for a mentor. WE prayed about it. Spoke to the other lady and they are now meeting each other on a weekly basis.
    You can only imagine how incredible it was to see God lay all of that out. It was miraculous. It also encouraged me that I am on the right path.
    Oh, the lady who went through this was so far away from God at the point she came to me. She is now working on her personal relationship with the FATHER and she regularly attends the Monday night Bible study we started.
    It just gets all over me when God blesses our efforts. I am so unworthy and inadequate and He still chooses to use me to bring ladies to HIM!
    I draw much encouragement and advice from this blog.
    Thank you Chris!

  2. Chris Adams says:

    Oh,my goodness Deanna, what an incredible testimony of how God knows each detail puts women together for His glory. Thank you so much for sharing that story with our readers. I pray God will continue to bless your investment in women He brings into your ministry. Blessings!

  3. Hi Deanna,
    Interesting that you mentioned a husband’s pornography because one of the things I talk about in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? is the number of men that get addicted to pornography through the infertility testing process. Also many infertile women feel like there’s no one in the church who understands…but another woman who has walked in your shoes understands with no words even needed to be said. Through the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry I watched women in their lonlininess in so many areas of life, longing for another Christian woman to talk to one-on one who would help them find answers from a Christian perspective. Thank you for sharing the work God is doing at your church. Blessings, Janet

  4. LeAnn Weiss-Rupard says:

    Great job, Janet. Thanks for all you do to teacher others through the adventure God has for you! Keep up the great job!

  5. Janet,
    I just checked out your site and resources. I need to know if your mentoring kit would work in my ministry. I am part of a local church, in fact my husband is an asst there, but the ministry God has led me start is not out of that church.Though they are very supportive of what I am doing. It is it’s own entity. I have a team of ladies from a variety of churches that help and we are a non-profit reaching to the whole community. Would your kit be suitable or is it strictly for use out of the church?
    Thank you!

  6. The kit is written for a church ministry but could be adaptable to other scenarios. You might want also to check out the Face-to-Face Bible study series. There are 4 out now and one more next Feb and they’re written so two women can do them together in a mentoring relationship and there’s a leader’s guide in each one for group use. They are available through LifeWay or Amazon or CBD or Christian bookstores.

Speak Your Mind

*


7 × seven =