Paul Carter serves as the lead pastor of First Baptist Church Orillia in Ontario. He frequently blogs on issues of Christian faith and living at Adfontes, where he also writes an online devotional tool called “The RMM RoundUp” based on Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible reading plan. He is the co-founder of the Covenant Life Renewal Association (CLRA), which seeks biblical and spiritual revival in Canadian Baptist Churches. Paul is an original Council member for TGC Canada and also sits on the executive committee.
1) What would be some of the benefits of having pastors/elders intentionally investing in and equipping older women to disciple younger women? (Titus 2:1, 3-5)
They do it better. We have trained an entire cadre of ladies to disciple other ladies and they do it really well! My mother was one of the 18 women who took our in house training program last ministry year and she has been doing a phenomenal job mentoring younger women! She has them into her home, has them over for dinner, teaches them how to cook, goes to their graduations and events and just generally takes them under her wing. A pastor can not and likely should not try and mentor young women directly. Training older women is safer, smarter and more effective.
2) What are some of the ways your leadership is discipling older women? Can you recommend some resources you have found to be helpful?
We built our own program which we call ‘T2′. I’ve attached the course outline. To be truthful, we found that most of the resources available were a bit formulaic. They talked a lot about being a woman but not a lot about being A CHRISTIAN. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that being a woman Christian is entirely different than being a man Christian. Obviously there are some unique aspects and concerns, but there is also an enormous amount of overlap. A lot of women’s ministry curriculum covers the same well worn ground: Proverbs 31, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3 – all of that is wonderful but it tends to put the emphasis on WOMAN instead of CHRISTIAN. We wanted to include that content but also to go beyond it so we built our own.
3) Many women in the church would like to be equipped by their pastors/elders in addition to Sunday morning preaching. What steps might women take in order to respectfully invite this type of intentional discipleship?
They should respectfully invite it; simple as that. At the risk of sounding stereotypical, women often over estimate the need for subtlety when dealing with men. Men appreciate polite directness. Tell your leaders that you desire this sort of program. Tell them why. Tell them when. If necessary, provide directions to the place of meeting. That should do it. To be honest, a lot of male led churches are afraid of getting involved in Women’s Ministry. A lot of Women’s Ministry programs operate with a level of independence that no other program is given for the simple reason that the men are afraid of ruffling feathers or inviting trouble. If the women make it clear that they would like some instruction in this area, the leaders will respond. Don’t wait for them to come to you. They generally won’t.