Discipling Young Women (Part 3): How Should the Local Church Disciple Young Women?

In the previous posts, a biblical rationale for the discipleship of young women was established and the group was defined as young adult women of the Millennial Generation who are in the season of marriage, parenting, and homemaking. The discussion will now consider how to most effectively minister to this demographic, in light of the research that was presented. A recent study demonstrated that young adults are leaving the church in staggering numbers.[1] At the same time, research indicates that young adults value the influence of older generations. Rainer and Rainer concluded, “They don’t want merely disseminators of knowledge in educational institutions; they want men and women who are examples through their lives as well as their words. They will avoid institutions that treat them like one of the masses; but they will flock to institutions that have transparent and servantlike leaders.”[2] If this conclusion is in fact true, there is excellent potential for a Titus 2 approach to be very effective among young women.

As noted in the first post in this series, Paul specifically addressed the need to disciple younger women in Titus 2:3-4. A closer look at the immediate context of passage reveals the material and the method that was to be taught. In the first chapter of Titus, Paul gave guidelines for the qualifications of elders. He then proceeded to describe what the overseers were called to do. He wrote:

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:1-6).

Paul gave instructions to Titus and the elders of the churches in Crete to identify and equip three groups of people: older men, older women, and younger men. Notice, the younger women were not overlooked, but that it was the older women who were instructed to teach and train them in godly conduct. Furthermore, it was the elders who were responsible to equip the older women for this role by teaching them what accords with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). Paul gave a clear exhortation to Titus and the qualified male overseers to identify and teach the older women in the church to prepare them to instruct younger women in godly conduct. After he had established the method for doing so, Paul proceeded to emphasize that young women were to be encouraged: to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self- controlled, to be pure, to be working at home, to be kind, and to be submissive to their own husbands.

Thus, a biblical strategy for the discipleship of young women should include church elders equipping the older women with sound doctrine. The older women will then be prepared to teach and encourage the young women. Elders should train the older women in three major emphases of materials for discipleship: (1) Identity in Christ as Disciples; (2) Identity in Christ as Women; and (3) Identity in Christ as Mothers. In order to deliver the material, there are three major methods for discipleship: (1) Large group discipleship; (2) Small group discipleship; and (3) One-to-one discipleship.

The next post will consider the materials and methods for discipling young women in the local church.

[1]Lawson, “The Adult Learner,” in Teaching Ministry of the Church, 347.

[2]Rainer and Rainer, The Millennials, 282.

 

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