In centuries past, it was commonplace for someone to apprentice himself or herself to a master of a skill or trade in order to learn all the finer points and to gain confidence in that field. Now we have colleges, trade schools, and such to do that work. Occasionally, a master carpenter, plumber, or electrician will take a younger person under their wing for experience, along with fulfilling licensing requirements.
One area in particular could use such a mentoring program. That is in religion. And especially with women. Young men can usually find a church or pastor who will allow them to get experience serving a congregation, making visits, running errands, etc., but it is harder for women. First, there is this thing about men not being alone with a women. I know there are valid reasons for avoiding all appearances of evil, but I have always felt like a second-rate person when that attitude is expressed (usually oh-so-subtly). Do these men think I am about to jump their bones? I secretly wonder if they are protecting themselves from their own base nature. I had a professor who insisted on having a desk between him and a female student. I really trusted that man, and found myself giggling each time it happened.
The next obstacle is that many denominations have man-based foundations. Male pastors, male deacons, mostly male administrations. Women have their places also: the kitchen, the nursery, Sunday school teachers. The males quote scriptures about men being in charge, and ignore the scriptures of women deacons and leaders. And so there has been great exodus of younger people leaving traditional churches in search of more progressive forms of worship, or no church altogether. However, the ministerial departments of colleges are attended by about as many women as men there days. And the women are smart, and committed. Not all these women students will look for church staff positions, but go into cross-culture fields, missions, and specialized religious work. I am one of those women. For the past five years I have been involved with developers producing Christian games for the internet or mobile apps. Hundred of thousands of people can be reached in this way.
But I yearn for a place where I can be mentored. A place where I can bounce off ideas, work the kinks out, and be held accountable. I was not meant to be solo. I was meant to be part of the Body of Christ. I need people. But where can I do that? I can just see the guys moving over and offering me a seat at the monthly deacon meeting. Not. Or going to hang out with the pastor and talk church work. Not likely. But there are places I can go. A professor or two have open doors for students, but I graduated, and feel a little selfish using their heavily scheduled time.
I ran a suggestion by our pastor recently. Why not open a small group for anyone who wants to be mentored? There are several people who come to the Lord later in live and need a place to discuss spiritual issues. Women who want to serve the Lord in non-church ways and need guidance. I will wait and see if anything comes of my suggestion. It would be exciting to be part of a church with a heart for the needs of others.
Up to this point I have been advised to not accept comments because of all the “trash” that comes with doing so, but I am enabling comments for this blog to see what you, the reader, think. I also welcome any topics you would like discussed in the future. If I get bombarded by rude remarks, I can always turn it off.