In their book, Organic Mentoring: A Mentor’s Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women, Dallas Theological Seminary professors Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann encourage older women in Christ to continue to pursue and invest in “postmodern” women despite the generation gulf between them.
Based on Neumann’s dissertation research on the mentoring needs of postermodern women, the book outlines how existing women’s ministries can incorporate a new and more “organic” model of discipleship through mentoring.
In her research, Barbara uncovered that nearly 80% of young women abandon their mentoring relationships in the first six months. Yet, despite busy schedules and unfettered access to information, the authors believe younger women today (Gen Xers and Millennials) are crying out for mentors.
But with fewer churches seeing success in their traditional mentoring models, the author believes the problem lies in church’s “worn-out” mentoring models. Instead of teacher or role model, younger women want a mentor who is simply “an honest woman with whom they can process life.”
Here’s what I liked about the book:
–The authors sound the call for the church to return to the Titus 2 mandate and intentionally cultivate inter-generational communities.
–The book offers positive helps for women of the “modern” generation (born before 1965) to better reach younger women by looking at the cultural disconnects between generations in the pew.
–Based on Barbara’s research, the book offers a clear breakdown of postmodern values and what kind of ministry they respond to.
–The book offers practical ideas for tweaking existing mentoring models such as putting the mentee in the driver’s seat and having the mentor act as a life guide instead of wisdom dispenser.
–The book emphasizes building life-on-life relationships through sharing stories as a means for discipleship. That means mentors must strive to be more than a role model who seems to have it all together, but transparent, authentic pictures of God’s grace.
–The book gives ideas for ensuring time spent together is more than simply “hang-out” time by listening with a purpose and developing deeper conversations.
Here’s what I didn’t like about the book:
–Call me a modern woman in a postmodern body, but I though the book over-advocated accommodating to the postermodern generation. Simply put, the book didn’t call postmodern women to the same cost of discipleship as their disciplers.
If women’s ministries are ever going to successfully create fully-formed, replicating disciples, we must shake postmodern women out of this ‘me-centered’ funk that often dominates my generation and our approach to faith.
–By the book’s end, I wasn’t fully convinced that organic mentoring model is intentional enough for developing a fully formed, replicating disciple. Although, if I had a mentor, I’d want her to be all the things Sue and Barbara advocate in their book.
Overall, this book is a must-read for any women’s ministry leader who is trying to incorporate a Titus 2 model of mentoring into her women’s ministry strategy. The practical insight and wealth of research on ministering to the postermodern woman is worth the purchase price alone.
Organic Mentoring is a book to navigate the do’s and don’ts of ministry to postmodern women.
Also, I’ve very excited to announce that I recently teamed up with a new group of ladies who share my desire to equip women leaders in the church!
The brains behind this resource are author and blogger Gina Duke and Cyndee Ownbey of Women’s Ministry Toolbox. Be sure to follow our collaborative Pinterest Board for access to helpful ideas for discipling and engaging the women in your church.
This post contains affiliate links. For more info, click here.