Doing Life Together: Mentoring Millennial Women

women studying the Bible together

When you think of mentorship, does your mind quickly recall visions of women’s teas or formally set-up meetings? In today’s fast-paced world, millennial women are hungry for real relationships with women who have been in the trenches of life a bit longer. However, a study found that 80% of young women abandon traditional mentoring programs in the first 6 months of participation.1

If young women truly desire those mentoring relationships, why is it that most don’t stay plugged into traditional mentoring programs? What do young women of today want mentoring relationships to look like?
 

Authentic and Transparent Relationships

Younger women value transparency. They believe a person must be herself, not putting on airs or suggesting she has life all figured out and tied up with a beautiful bow. They desire to learn through the experiences and stories of their mentor—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Young women also want to be able to be honest about their struggles and frustrations and lack of knowledge about how to approach life issues from a biblical perspective—without feeling that others are looking down on them.
 

Flexible and Unconventional Time Together

Because of their demanding lives, young women have to make tough choices about how to spend each moment of the day. This impacts when, where, and how often they meet with a mentor. It may be late at night or in a coffee shop. The ideal time to grow and be discipled could even revolve around a trip to the grocery store together. Maybe it is over the kitchen counter as she learns how to make chicken salad or potato soup from scratch!
 

Nontraditional Views of a Biblical Woman

Young women today may seek relationships with women who encourage them in the season of life they are in or in their individual calling, not focusing on traditional expectations. Some of these expectations may involve finding the right man to marry and when to have children. Maybe they desire to work outside of the home and send their kids to school each day, or they may choose to stay at home and homeschool their children. They may need other godly women to affirm that there is more than one way to live as a godly woman.
 

One of Many Speaking into Their Lives

The traditional approach to mentoring through local church programs can be scary to younger women. The idea of not choosing for themselves the women whom they trust and respect makes the more formal approaches out of the question. They may seek out women whom they admire for a variety of reasons. One of these women may have a spiritual life worthy of admiration, another a solid marriage, and still another may have successfully raised children who love the Lord and are serving Him. The idea that a young woman can have more than one woman speaking into her life is appealing and fits right in to the flexible idea of doing life together.

So keep these things in mind the next time a millennial asks you out for coffee or seems interested in spending time with you. Maybe she desires to build a mentoring relationship with you. If she doesn’t seem to initiate something, ask her to meet you for coffee, and see how the Lord might use you to encourage a young woman to live as Christ would have her to live. It really is all about doing life together!
 


Allison Kinion has served as the director of women’s missions and ministry for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana since 2008. She has led teens in local church student ministry since 1995 and women in the church as well. She is married to Roger Kinion, senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Greenfield, Indiana, and is the mother of 2 teenage kids, Hannah, 16, and Ruston, 14.


1Barbara Ann Neumann, “An Examination of Mentoring Programs for Serving the Needs of the Postmodern Christian Woman” (D.Min. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2011). Cited by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann, Organic Mentoring: A Mentor's Guide to Relationships with Next Generation Women (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Ministry, 2014), 23.

 

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