Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of girls struggling at ECA. I’ve given hugs to three crying girls, just this week. I’m seeing fights, grudges, gossip, dissolving friendships, and depression. And I’m sure I don’t see the half of it. This isn’t limited to just one group of girls or even to one grade. It’s across the board. I know that issues like these have always been and will always be present, but it feels like I’m seeing a lot more lately. My best guess is that God is getting my attention, because there’s something He wants me to do about it.
Not that I don’t have enough to do right now; working full time, attending grad school, being a wife and housemom, and running a household tend to keep me pretty busy. But I can’t sit by and watch the hearts of my girls getting broken and not try to do something about it.
I strongly believe that there is a gaping void in ECA’s spiritual instruction. We have awesome Bible teachers who are thoroughly grounded in right doctrine, know how to communicate clearly, and have a heart for their students. But they are all male. We have the best dean of students I’ve ever seen or heard of. He handles all the discipline at the school, but he is not interested in merely handing out work penalties or suspensions. He wants to know the heart issues behind the students’ wrong behavior, and he aims to disciple them in the truth, not just correct their wrong behavior. But he is…well…male. There are a number of reasons why he can only go so far when it comes to mentoring young women at the school.
God establishes the framework for female discipleship and mentoring in Titus 2, in which He commands older women to teach younger women. There’s a good reason for this. Young women have needs and problems that are different from those of young men. You don’t teach women different Biblical principles, but you do teach them different applications of those principles. People of both genders and of every age and race need to hear the truth of Scripture, and praise God that we have strong, Biblical teaching at ECA. But something more is needed. The hearts of young women need to be shepherded and discipled in a manner that is specific to them. And they need to have many examples of Godly older women in their lives. I know that many churches do this well, but not all of them. I also know that most of our families do an outstanding job of shepherding their children. But if our mission is to “partner with parents and their church to educate, equip, and empower its students to pursue their purpose in Christ,” we have to do our part in discipling these covenant young women to reinforce and augment the spiritual instruction they receive elsewhere.
This need used to be filled in some ways by monthly discipleship groups; however, those groups no longer exist. Some students and teachers felt ambivalent about d-groups, because not all groups were as productive or helpful as they could have been. This is probably because the groups were randomly thrown together, and some groups never had great chemistry. However, now we’re back to square one, with no alternative in sight. Our boys are mentored by our male teachers; our girls are left with nothing. This is not good enough for me.
I’m going to try to get Disciple Lunch going. Four to six students form a group and schedule a once-a-month lunch with a teacher of their choice. That way, the group chemistry and a positive relationship with the leader will already be established. And since it’s over lunch, it won’t involve an extra time commitment. The lunch groups could form facebook groups to communicate information and students could suggest topics over the facebook group. The girls could bring their Bibles and search the Scriptures together with the leader. Follow-up discussion could occur on the facebook group.
I’m excited about this, and I really hope it works. While I can’t solve all my girls’ problems for them, I hope that by opening up a Bibliocentric dialogue, I can help give them tools for working through the life issues they face every day. I certainly can’t sit by and do nothing.