When you hear people talk about Titus 2 discipleship, what image comes to mind? Do you picture an older woman standing next to a whiteboard, instructing a small group of women? Do you imagine an older woman sending out weekly emails to her mentees with Bible passages to read and memorize? Do you see it as being like a Bible study, just with fewer women?
Titus 2 discipleship certainly involves instruction, Bible study, and possibly even memorization. It’s not less than that. But it’s also more. A lot more.
When Discipleship and Real Life Meet
Two Christmases ago, my husband tripped over a piece of furniture and fell, breaking his ankle. Any broken bone is problematic, but a broken ankle almost always requires surgery. And his did.
At the time, I was in a Titus 2 discipleship group. I shared with my group what happened and requested prayer. My group leader and spiritual mentor was a nurse. She checked in with me during the weeks leading up to my husband’s surgery to learn how she could pray for him and for our family. She used her knowledge as a nurse to advise me in his care.
When the day came for the surgery, she told me she wanted to come to the hospital and spend time with me while I waited. She knew I was nervous and wanted to be an encouragement to me. She sat with me in the waiting room and talked through my worries and concerns over the surgery. She knew the hospital staff and checked in on my husband’s progress.
We had lunch together and then went into the hospital’s chapel where she prayed aloud for my husband, the surgeon, and my own heart. As she prayed, her words discipled and trained me by reminding me of God’s sovereignty and His control over all things. Her words pointed me to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and steadfast love.
Certainly, my mentor could have spoken these truths to me over the phone. She could have discussed them during our prayer time with my Titus 2 group. But she went further. She took the time to invest in my life and meet me in my worries. She applied the truth of God’s Word to my specific situation, reminding me where my hope lies. Her investment impacted me more than had she simply told me on a Sunday morning, “I’m praying for your husband.”
A Shared Life
When Titus instructed older women to instruct or train younger women to “love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands” (2:4–5), it was in the context of the local church. These women would have been neighbors and fellow church members, sisters in the Lord. The instruction was in the context of relationship.
Titus 2 discipleship is more than mere instruction. It’s more than teaching a biblical concept. It’s not just a study session or Bible class. If that’s all the women needed, Titus could have instructed them from the pulpit. Rather, it is teaching in the context of a shared life. Titus 2 discipleship involves an older woman helping a younger woman apply the gospel to her everyday life.
This means the older woman has to know the younger woman she is serving. She has to be willing to get involved in the mess of the younger woman’s life. The older woman has to get down into the trenches with her mentee, not radioing in from the sidelines. She has to know the younger woman’s challenges, struggles, sins, and temptations. Their relationship has to go beyond the classroom and into the living room—into the woman’s real every day.
In doing so, the older woman can help the younger woman apply the gospel to the challenges she faces. Challenges such as:
- How does the gospel apply to a mom with an autistic child?
- How does it apply to a woman whose husband has an addiction of some kind?
- To a woman who has miscarried?
- To a woman who is bruised by life?
- To a woman who overindulges in television, shopping, or something else?
Older women, the younger women in your church need you. They need you to walk with them through life and share what you have learned about the gospel in your own life. They need you to enter their living rooms and into the places where they spend their days, showing them how to live out the gospel in their everyday, messy lives.