Milk and Honey Magazine thinks you can be a fantastic role model to encourage young women to become women of faith, integrity, class, and courage. Take them to a movie, do a Bible study, or grab a Starbucks coffee and tell them what you wish you knew at their age!

Becoming a Mentor

Hannah Coffman

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

The Bible is clear: to live a rich, abundant Christian life, we need to be built up by wiser, older women, and we also need to pour out that wisdom into younger Christians, acting as spiritual mentors. In Titus, Paul talks about what our lives should look like and how we should encourage others, saying “the older women must train the younger women…to live wisely and be pure” (Titus 2:7).

When I was younger, I viewed a mentor as a person to seek out for advice. While seeking advice is an obvious and important part of a mentoring relationship, I’ve learned something more important about mentors as I’ve grown. The most important aspect of a mentoring relationship is a strong, spiritual friendship.

I think that God always intended for us to have fellowship with a wide variety of people: those our own age, those younger than us, and those who have all the wisdom of past generations to share with us. It’s easy to forget the value that relationships with different age groups can have; the way our world is structured, it’s easy to only interact with people of our own age. We go to class with our peers—we go to church and congregate in small groups of people our own age—we seek out women who are doing the same thing in life, whether that’s college or marriage or starting a family.

It’s important to be intentional about building relationships with women outside of your established circle of friends. The younger women in your life might be your sisters or cousins. They might be the younger siblings of close friends. They might be women in your church’s youth group. Whoever they are, they are important and they are valuable and they need encouragement just as much as you do.

Milk and Honey Magazine thinks you can be a fantastic role model to encourage young women to become women of faith, integrity, class, and courage. Take them to a movie, do a Bible study, or grab a Starbucks coffee and tell them what you wish you knew at their age!

Here are some practical ways to encourage and mentor the younger women in your life:

Cultivate a Friendship

Your mentoring relationships will be far less impactful if you’re not a friend first. Of course, as an older woman, it’s appropriate to share your wisdom and advice. However, advice falls short if you haven’t established a foundation of trust.

One of my most cherished relationships is with a woman who’s almost 40 years older than me. Despite our age differences, we connect on so many levels. We share stories from working in ministry. We love practicing yoga. We send each other pictures of cute animals. I’ve known my friend since I was ten years old and have always admired her and sought her out for advice. Over the past few years, though, as I’ve grown up and gotten married and started working in ministry, we really, truly became friends, and her wisdom means so much more to me now.

As I mentor younger women, I think of the most impactful relationships in my life. They’ve all started with friendship: sharing likes and dislikes with each other, talking about our hopes and fears and dreams.

As you seek out mentoring relationships with younger women, don’t be afraid to share your experiences. You might be able to offer valuable perspective through your experiences seeking out college, a career, or how you’ve learned to put God first in relationships. Pray for your friend. Encourage her with words directly from the Scripture and words that God has laid on your heart.

As you share your wisdom, don’t hesitate to pursue a real, lasting friendship. My friend always says to me: “We’re the same. One young, one old.” As we’ve connected over common interests, the spiritual wisdom she has shared has been invaluable to me. The women who seek you out for prayer and spiritual guidance are going to be the women that you’ve set aside time to connect with.

Share Experiences Together

The best kind of friendships aren’t built over lunch dates or conversations over coffee (though those are great, too!) I firmly believe that the strongest friendships center around shared experiences. Sharing experiences together is also another great way to find common interests. If you both love working out, then hit the gym! Find a fun new workout routine and do it together.

If you’re both fans of classic movies, have a movie night and go to the dollar store to pick up candy and popcorn. Go for a hike, take your new friend on a shopping excursion, or explore antique stores. I guarantee you’ll be able to find an activity that bridges the age gap.

When you make people a priority in your life, it will become important to spend time together, enjoying your shared interests. As a mentor, you’ll be able to become a very real and important presence in your friend’s life rather than a weekly commitment.

Center Around Christ

Whenever the Bible talks about encouragement, it doesn’t talk about being successful, or rich, or happy. It always centers around Christ as our ultimate encouragement.

1 Thessalonians chapter 4 talks about how Christ died, rose again, and will come back for us, then says, “encourage one another with these words.” The greatest encouragement we can offer is the hope we hold in Christ. Another wonderful verse, Hebrew 10:4, says: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”

Let’s take the challenge. Let’s actively seek out opportunities to motivate and encourage the younger women in our lives. Start with your siblings. Reach out to women in your church. Connect with girls in your classes or at your job. Let’s put aside time in our busy schedules to spend a few hours with a younger woman this week, sharing experiences and prayer. Choose to use your time together to center about Christ, whether that’s talking about how He’s moving in your life or spending time in the Word together.