Woman to woman
By Debbie Bosak Post-Tribune correspondent May 20, 2013 12:56PM
Mentoring Director Tammy Johnston (far right) speaks to (r-l) Michelle Lee, Megan Thompson, and Melissa Demopoulos during the Bethel Church sponsors woman-to-woman mentoring ministry meeting held at Bethel Church in Crown Point on Friday May 10, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
For more information on the Woman-to-Woman Mentorship Ministry, contact Bethel Church at 663-9200.
Updated: June 22, 2013 6:05AM
For women, there are some things only another woman can understand. Based on this premise, Bethel Church in Crown Point now offers a Woman-to-Woman Mentorship Ministry.
According to director Tammy Johnston, the ministry is all about making connections with women who share the same values and experiencing the love of God by building relationships.
Most often the group brings an older and younger woman together with the purpose of training, teaching and encouraging growth through prayer, personal development and shared life experiences.
Three women came together on May 10 to speak of the positive aspects of such a ministry and the benefits they have derived from the experience. Michelle Lee had previously been involved in youth ministry when she first heard the call for women mentors three years ago.
“I wasn’t even sure if I qualified, but my heart was to give to someone else,” Lee recalled, noting that the Bible provides numerous examples of women reaching out to other women.
After an inquiry session and a questionnaire to help pair women in a complimentary manner, Lee was partnered with Melissa Demopoulos.
“I was new in my faith and wanted someone to walk along with me and help me to grow,” Demopoulos said. “Michelle offered great insight and encouragement and we’ve become good friends. She prayed with me and for me.”
Lee agreed. “Melissa and I were both single and both professional women so the fit was good,” she said. “And, we had a commonality in Christ.”
If interested in the ministry, mentors and their mentees agree to a six-month relationship, meeting at least once a week at the church, in a restaurant for lunch or coffee or at home. “Texting and emails don’t count,” Johnston said.
“Many women need guidance but may feel intimidated to ask for help,” she continued. “We try to offer authentic friendship and a safe place to grow, pray and share life.”
Demopoulos found the experience so beneficial that she has now turned from mentee to mentor, noting that she wanted to do the same for another woman.
“Because of the relationship I was able to build with Michelle, I felt God calling me to step into the mentor role,” Demopoulos said. “I prayed a lot and then took a leap of faith to offer to someone else the gift I had been given.”
She now serves as mentor for Megan Thompson.
“I thought I would be placed with someone totally different than Melissa but then found she was just as passionate for the Lord as I am,” Thompson explained. “I am ignited and reaffirmed by her faith.”
The women in the group range in age from early 20s to late 70s and bring a wealth of different life experiences to the mix. “The best mentors aren’t perfect but rather real women who struggle with life like we all do,” said Johnston. “No matter where we are on the journey, we can give and be blessed back by through kind of program.”
The mentoring ministry also has its eye on the future, hoping to soon reach out beyond the walls of the church and into the community, such as to women leaving correctional facilities and struggling to begin a new life.
“We’d like to be able to introduce them to the positive influence of faith in God and Jesus Christ,” Johnston said.
As to the overall goals of this ministry for women, Johnston was succinct.
“We try to instill in all women that companioning another woman is something you can do all the time,” she said. “You don’t have to wait for a ministry to look for her. We hope this leads to all women wanting to do it on their own.”