In our discussion thus far, the evidence suggests that the intentional discipleship of women according to Titus 2 is not presently an overwhelming reality in the Canadian church. Based on initial informal surveying of the evangelical landscape over the last decade, there are a number of possible contributing factors to why this could be so. There are four main groups that offer insight into some of these potential reasons: younger women, older women, women’s ministry leaders, and pastors/elders.
Many younger Christian women are unaware of their need for godly mentorship, and seek support and mentorship from their peer group in the same life stage. Other younger women desire a role model or mentor, but don’t see any older women who seem willing or available. Ironically, many older women feel they are not wanted or needed by the younger generation who seemingly have the latest and greatest ways of doing things. Furthermore, since the rise of double income households and later retirement, older women have busy work schedules or plans to travel or relax once they have retired. Other older women display godly character and capabilities, but lack the training or confidence to offer their mentorship. Moreover, when both younger and older women find one another and desire a Titus 2 relationship, they feel ill-equipped to know what the next step is, or how it should work out in practice.
At the leadership level, many women’s ministry leaders have drifted away from upholding Scripture as foundational to their practice and offer a variety of social gatherings, book studies, or community service events. Even many who remain committed to God’s Word tend to adopt the traditional practice of women’s ministry to host Bible studies, run events, mom’s groups, and organize retreats. Others have embraced the pre-packaged DVD curriculum that is convenient, but removes the need to disciple faithful women who are able to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). Furthermore, many women’s ministry leaders have adopted a biblical vision for ministry among women and named it “Proverbs 31” or “Titus 2” but have failed to see the need to submit to and invite in the teaching and equipping ministry of the elders in their church.
The fourth group consists of the pastors and elders of the church. There seems to be an assumption that women’s discipleship is happening because there is a women’s ministry leader and calendar full of happenings. Furthermore, there seems to be a lack awareness of the role of elders in the intentional discipleship of older women according to Titus 2 and the Pastoral Epistles in general. Perhaps the most troubling concern here is that the overseers of the local church have become distracted from the ministry of the Word by various other matters of the church that are not mandated in Scripture. Throughout the New Testament, there are seven main functions of elders that emerge: (1) Leading; (2) Protecting; (3) Teaching; (4) Discipling; (5)Disciplining; (6) Praying; (7) Being Hospitable (John 21:15–19; Acts 6:1–7; 11:30; 14:23; 15:6; 20:17–38; 21:17–26; 1 Corinthians 9:1–14; 1 Thessalonians 5:12–13; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1–7; 3:10; 4:14; 5:17–25; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Peter 5:1–5; James 3:1; 5:13–15; Hebrews 13:17). It is essential to note that each of these aspects of eldering have to do with the ministry of the Scriptures and the equipping of God’s people. Even the mandate to practice hospitality provides a context for discipleship and modelling godliness. When the biblical role of elders is considered in the context of women’s discipleship, it leads to the conclusion that elders must intentionally lead, protect, teach, disciple, discipline, pray, and show hospitality to older women in an appropriate context, so that they can then train younger women in the same way.