“One white mocha and one non-fat latte, please.” We placed our order with the conviction of 20 voices in unison, eagerly grabbed our cups when they hit the counter, and headed toward the nearest table.
The woman who sat across from me had hair as silver as her wedding band and displayed the deep smile lines of a soul who understood the need for laughter. As we sat and unpacked life, she proceeded to ask a question that, to this day, has challenged my heart. “Are you honoring what the Lord has entrusted to you, or are you simply becoming a poster child for busy?” I was a 22-year-old young gun in need of wisdom, and her question was one of my first exposures to the aroma of discipleship.
It seems everyone wants a mentor, but no one knows how to find one. It’s almost as if true disciple makers have become these elusive unicorns that magically disappear when approached, determined not to be caught. As a woman now in my mid-30s, I have longed for a spiritual life north of ordinary. I have hungered for women to speak Scripture into my bones, not just opinion. Women who love Jesus more than they love themselves. Women who are so saturated in the Spirit of God they can’t help but be compelled by the Spirit of God. And, I can’t help but notice I am not the only one.
Throughout Scripture, we see Jesus taking everyday instruments and using them for extraordinary purposes. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites both Jews and Gentiles to, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus spoke directly to the heaviness people felt when it came to the spiritual life, while also using the common yoke as a metaphor for discipleship.
The HCSB Study Bible for Women puts it this way: “The yoke is Jesus’ life and teachings—not the law. Followers of Christ are indeed free from the law, but they are not free to do as they please. They are to be harnessed to Christ.”
Did you catch that word? Harnessed. To be bound to; coupled with; to mobilize; bridle.
The yoke was a device used for joining together a pair of draft animals, especially oxen, and consisted of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, each enclosing an animal’s head so they would become one unit. The intent was to pair a younger animal (mentee) to a more experienced animal (mentor) that understood the terrain and could impart wisdom. The goal was mentorship. The more experienced animal was not perfect; she was simply a vessel to point the next generation toward what was already entrusted to them. The same is true for us.
2 Timothy 2:2 states, “…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Paul entrusts Timothy with what he has seen and heard, and commissions him to go and tell. The goal of Christian mentoring is simple at its core: the disciple becomes more like Jesus and then leads others to do the same. As women, we have a huge role to play in our homes, communities, and local churches. We are called to be influencers and image-bearers for the Kingdom. In the words of a dear friend, “If you have known and walked with Jesus for longer than two weeks, then you should be pouring into another life.”
So where do we start? Here are a few tips I encourage you with:
- Live unveiled before God. Before we go public in mentoring, we must first go personal before God Himself. Ask the Lord to sift your motives, prepare your heart, and help develop within you a spirit of submission toward Scripture.
- Pursue cross-generational relationships. Mentorship is rooted in relationship. Women of all ages yearn to be known. One of the greatest strengths a mentor can possess is the ability to listen to and impart biblical wisdom to women of all ages. Building these cross-generational relationships guards you from favoritism and helps you see women as people, not projects.
- Lay framework. A natural result of cross-generational relationships is women seeking out other women for discipleship. I rarely ask another woman if I can disciple her. I wait until she initiates the conversation so I know she is taking it seriously. Once the conversation occurs, we meet to unpack her story, cast vision, set goals, and identify future times and places to meet.
- Encourage and equip. This might be the area we overthink the most. You do not need a Seminary degree, although valuable, to mentor another woman. You simply need to loves Jesus, have a submitted heart, and walk with Christ daily in Scripture and in prayer. Get to know your mentee’s heart, teach her how to unpack the Word, and encourage her to share what she is learning with those around her.
Liz Steckel is the Young Singles Women’s Director at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. A former graphic designer, teacher, and missionary, Liz loves ministering alongside women in the local church and surrounding community. She thrives on equipping leaders, teaching, and cultivating cross-generational discipleship. She is married to Josh Steckel, and they are expecting their first child, Mackenzie, in January.
Resources to Help You Mentor and Be Mentored