A young woman approached an older woman whom she respected and saw living a godly life.
“Would you mentor me?” she asked the older woman.
The older woman replied sheepishly, “I’m honored, but I don’t feel qualified to mentor.”
The response shocked the younger woman. Not because she was turned down but because she couldn’t believe the older woman would view herself like that.
“You have SO MUCH life experience I could draw from!” she wanted to tell her. Respectful of the older woman’s wishes, however, the young woman said her thanks and left it at that.
This scenario plays out countless times in churches. When I ask women why they shy away from becoming a mentor to someone younger, almost always I hear some variation of “I’m not qualified.”
Meanwhile, countless young woman wish for someone older to help guide them.
For women of faith, the “I’m not qualified” response takes on new meaning because it flies directly in the face of God-breathed Scripture. As Christian women, we are instructed to train up our younger sisters, passing on the principles and practices of godly womanhood (Titus 2:4-5).
Commonly, Titus 2 is understood to mean older women are to mentor younger women, and commonly the very word “mentor” makes women shudder. They believe it is a title and a responsibility that only the so-called qualified deserve to have. They believe they themselves could not qualify for such elite status, and they possibly never will.
Not too long ago, I also self-identified as “unqualified.” But as I have begun to come alongside younger women, I’ve quickly realized a central truth:
Mentoring is not about your qualifications; it’s about your capacity to love intentionally.
Simply put, to mentor is to love with intention.
Mentoring is not about having all the answers or being a Bible encyclopedia. It’s about loving our younger sisters. It’s about being so intentional that it drives us to guide, correct, protect and teach, and do so in a way that feeds our own growth.
The Meaning of Mentor is Friend
The word “mentor” comes from ancient Greek. In Homer’s Odyssey, Mentor was a CHARACTER, not a title.
He was a man. A simple human being. He was not a god, not a superhero, not a blindingly talented professional. He was just a man.
“Mentor was the trusted friend of Odysseus.” (via History Disclosure)
Trusted friend. That’s who Mentor was.
And that, sisters, is what it means to mentor. THAT is what Titus 2:4-5 is referring to: trusting, loving friendship between generations.
This doesn’t mean “friend” in the sense that we want to hang out with younger women every weekend or be BFFs with them. We’re talking a different level of friendship here.
We are to intentionally love the women coming up after us, to care about them and their lives. We are to be trusted friends who will speak God’s truth to them, teach them to honor God and show them how to serve others. We are to be continually growing in our own faith as we do.
“Trusted friend” is the only definition of “mentor” we need to have.
If we truly saw mentoring for what it was meant to be, we would not be so scared of it. We would stop believing there is some certification we have to obtain in order to pour into younger women.
The Mentor Commission
Sisters, there is no elusive “qualified” status you must reach in order to mentor.
As daughters of the One True King, Our Lord, we are entrusted with His Word. By His authority, we are sent into the world to love others and teach them the ways of God. We can lean into Him in all circumstances as He leads us into loving, intentional relationships with younger women.
This is our full blessing. This is our commission. Let’s go and be trusted friends, and let’s be amazed by the blessings that come of it.
>> Need a way to build quiet time into your daily schedule, or teach someone else how to do it? Download my free guide “Get Daily Quiet Time, Without Adding to Your Schedule” when you join my BEFs (best email friends). Join now