A few years ago, our local church’s women’s ministry team hosted an outdoor dinner party. We wanted to gather the women who were already investing in the life of another woman in the church and talk about how we could equip other women to do the same. Through our discussions we created a list of four reasons younger women need older women in their lives.
We dragged tables and low chairs out into a grassy pasture, strung lights, and ate barbecue with all the country sides. Of the twenty women from our women’s ministry present, ten were college-aged to thirty-something and ten were forty and above.
As women began to spill out onto the pasture and make their way to the tables, there were college women and young professionals; newlyweds, wives, and young moms; empty nesters and grandmas; singles and widows. And as the bread was passed and drinks were refilled over the course of the night, we saw something happen across the table. Biblical mentoring was organically unfolding with each course just as God designed it in Titus 2:3-5:
Older women likewise are to . . . teach what is good, and so train the young women . . . that the word of God may not be reviled.
After dinner, the older women waved goodbye as the younger women volunteered to clean up. As conversation flowed around the kitchen and onto the couches, we began talking about how much we needed, and wanted, older women in our lives after such a refreshing night. While we all craved community with women our own age, there was something missing that we couldn’t get from our fellow peers.
So, for the older women in the faith, consider these four reasons younger women need older women in their lives.
1. Your presence gives us a strong model of biblical femininity.
With each new wave of secular feminism, and as each new generation of women redefines what womanhood is, young women need older sisters in Christ in their local church to speak honestly and boldly about what the Bible has to say about biblical womanhood. If young followers of Christ are to become deeply rooted in God’s Word and begin putting on the clothing of righteousness (Colossians 3:12–17), then they want more from you than a hug and a quick ‘hello’ in the church bathroom. They need your consistent presence in their lives outside of the bible study classroom. And as you share life with them, the biblical models of singleness, marriage, and motherhood are on display.
2. Your testimony gives us a tangible model of God’s faithfulness.
Katie and Kerri are two sisters who have walked, and are walking, a hard road of suffering. They lost their mother at an early age to a despicable terminal illness. When my mother was diagnosed with the same disease their mother had, I reached out to them. Whether it was time spent sharing over guacamole and chips, time on the phone after a crisis point, or just a quick Facebook message, their testimony of faithfully walking with God through similar trials strengthened me. Also, every conversation of transparency pointed me to God’s faithfulness, not only in their lives but also in my own. When you invest in the life of a younger sister in Christ, you tangibly show them the power of the living and active Word of God. Outside of sharing the gospel, there is no richer gift you can give someone.
3. Your stories give us the freedom to live by grace and not perfection.
Especially for the millennial and generations following, living in the victorious shadows of the costly grace of God is not the message our world, including their peers, is sharing. Rather, cloaked under the disguise of solidarity, women regularly face the struggle of comparison and the pursuit of perfection. However, when the women of the local church begin to walk in transparency with one another, it gives the generations following confidence and freedom to walk in the same way. Share your stories of crises, addictions, struggles, mundane days, and victorious battles, because in your weakness they see God’s strength.
4. Your wisdom gives us an unwavering path to follow.
As you seek and follow Christ, the younger generations are watching you. Young women need you to invite them into your homes, sit down and share a meal with them. Open the Bible with them on your couch. Talk about the deep, wonderful, good things of God and His Word. As you have hidden that Word in your heart over the years, as the pages of your Bible are now etched on your heart, help these younger believers to apply those truths to their lives. Sharing wisdom coupled with accountability and trust is a life-giving formula.
Are you investing in the life of someone spiritually younger than you? Know that the young women in your church want, and need, you to be. Start by looking around you in the ways you are already serving. Invite one younger lady, or ten, out to dinner and begin there. I imagine you’ll discover what we did under that big, open sky in that grassy pasture. When older women teach what is good, groves of young women rejoice and come back for more.