I just found out from LinkedIn that I have spent a year in my job. That is a year of mentoring Christian women entrepreneurs. Here are seven things I have learned:
1. Women are doing great things
I have been mentoring women heading up inspirational projects, including: running groups for the intellectually disabled, coordinating chaplaincy for a major new hospital, providing alternative income for women rescued from sex slavery, creating a community for people who
want to explore what it means to live with purpose, helping people and churches to connect with recently arrived migrants from Arab and Asian countries, collaborating with the best of social sciences and theology to provide better resources for youth, boosting the self-esteem of girls and young women, and providing a book specifically designed to help those with dementia connect with Jesus and faith. What an incredible variety of projects! What good work.
2. Women love helping women
I have had many energetic, experienced, gifted and successful women visit my groups to share their knowledge and expertise, and to promote other women. I am always humbled by their generosity and advice.
3. Women need affirmation
It is true that the two biggest challenges of the women I mentor is the need to grow their confidence in their own ideas and abilities, and they need access to financial resources to make things happen.
4. Women balance many roles
Hardly any of the women I mentor are able to pursue their passions fulltime. They balance what they do with caring responsibilities, other work and volunteer church roles.
5. Our focus is on incubating change
It has been helpful giving women permission to explore what they are passionate about, to align their purpose with God’s purposes in the world. It has also been great to recognise the positive change they can make, a foretaste of the kingdom: all of us (able, disabled, of many races, scarred by slavery, fearful, rebellious, ill, forgetful and forgotten) worshipping our
good God together.
6. Women are tenacious
I have been surprised at how willing these women are to take risks, to continue despite setbacks, to find alternate paths, to ignore power politics, to take on the next task when overwhelmed or discouraged.
7. Women give God the glory
These women are so humble about their achievements. Their genuine focus is foremost on honouring God. Having an attitude of dependence on God has refined their awareness of true worship (Romans 12:1–2).
Kara Martin is Project Leader with Seed, lecturer with Mary Andrews College, author of Workship: how to use your work to worship God.