Most women’s ministry leaders agree that mentoring and discipleship are essential components of a thriving women’s ministry program. However, figuring out how to include mentoring and discipleship in our women’s ministry offerings is often a challenge.
We struggle with whether or not to initiate a formal program. The large number of mentoring and discipleship resources can be overwhelming!
We long to choose a mentoring or discipleship program that is:
But most of all, we want to move forward with something that will encourage our women to grow in their love for another, God, and His Word.
I’ve reviewed several mentoring and discipleship resources over the years, and I’m happy to share this book review of Growing Together with you today!
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Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests by Melissa B. Kruger is a new mentoring and discipleship resource you’ll want to add to your ministry library.
In the introduction, Melissa explains, “What I hope to offer is a book that women can pick up and use to promote life-giving discussions on a variety of topics and foster and encourage one another’s faith. For that reason, this isn’t a book about mentoring but rather a book to use in the mentoring relationship. The ultimate goal for this book is for two women to grow together as they walk together.”
The book includes nine chapters that provide a curriculum to work through during your time together. The chapters cycle through our relationship with God (Bible reading, prayer, and contentment), living in community with believers (church, family, and service), and our engagement with the world (evangelism, temptation, and discernment).
Melissa offers four different ways to use the book:
- One-on-one discipleship (preferred)
- Discipleship groups (older woman overseeing a group of 2-4 younger women in the faith)
- Small group studies (10-20 women meeting together to discuss the content, most likely weekly)
- On your own
Some prefer to define discipleship and mentoring differently (as I do in my book, Rethinking Women’s Ministry). However, it’s important to note that Melissa points out that she will use these words interchangeably in the book.
She offers the following definition of mentoring.
Mentoring is a discipleship relationship that focuses on equipping younger believers for the work of ministry so that they grow in maturity and unity in the faith with the ultimate goal of glorifying God.
I appreciate that this definition includes equipping believers for the work of ministry with an emphasis on maturity and unity in the faith with the ultimate goal of glorifying God. As the subtitle hints, this is about more than just small talk and prayer requests.
Melissa uses the first two chapters of Growing Together to unpack what mentoring can be as well as setting expectations for the mentor/mentee. Ground rules are a good thing!
The remaining nine chapters (mentioned above) walk mentors/mentees through important topics, some not often talked about in women’s ministry, such as church attendance. Melissa often addresses the common lies women believe, such as “God doesn’t care if I go to church,” and “My service doesn’t matter.”
Melissa anchors the content of each chapter in God’s Word, sprinkling in applicable real-life examples. I found the chapters to be just the right length. While each chapter could entail an entire book (and as noted in the Recommended Reading in the appendix, there are whole books on these topics), Melissa manages to go just deep enough in the short space of a chapter for participants to have a hearty discussion on the subject.
Each chapter concludes with three sections:
- Before You Meet: Practical Tools to Help You Grow
- While You Meet: Questions for Discussion
- Until You Meet Again: Growing in Godliness
Melissa encourages participants to take engage with the content and take action. Far too often, I read a book and end a chapter thinking, “now what?” Melissa guides you to your next steps.
While your spiritually mature women won’t uncover many new thoughts or ideas, they will discover much-needed reminders to strengthen their walk and to encourage others.
I found the release of this book particularly timely. Christian beliefs and values are under increasing attack. In the chapter on temptations, Melissa says, “The Bible warns us that we have three primary enemies that war against our soul: the world, the flesh, and the devil.” Mentoring offers the opportunity for us to link arms with other women and study what the Bible says so that we will be better equipped to stand firm against these enemies.
Pick up a copy of Growing Together and start the process of equipping younger believers so they can stand firm in their faith and grow in maturity.
You may also want to read:
Book Review: Disciple Her
Discipleship Idea: Bible Study + Practical Skills
6 Ways Mentoring Brings the Generations Together in Women’s Ministry
A Fresh & Much Needed Perspective on Mentoring
Mentoring Programs and Resources
Gospel Mentoring: When Mentoring is Our Culture, Not a Program
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