Investing in the Next Generation
About the Guest
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Barbara Rainey join forces to talk about mentoring. Nancy, author of "Adorned," reflects on her family of origin and how she yearned to be used by God from an early age. Barbara talks about the importance of women ministering to women. Nancy and Barbara encourage older women to seek ways to engage younger women on what it means to walk with Christ.
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Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Barbara Rainey talk about mentoring. Nancy reflects on her family of origin and how she yearned to be used by God from an early age.
Bob: In the Bible, in Titus, Chapter 2, we read that older women are to model and to teach younger women what it looks like to walk with God; but have you ever thought, “I can’t do that. My own life is way too messy.” Well Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says, “You’re exactly the kind of woman God wants to use.”
Nancy: If we’re not ministering out of some level of brokenness and humility, probably, no one is going to want to hear what we have to say because they are going to look at us and say: “You’re just this amazing woman. I could never walk with the Lord like you do.” We need to share with them, honestly: “Look, here is how I have struggled / how I do struggle. Here’s how I’m tempted, but this is how God gives me grace to deal with that,” and we’re walking together in this, as very needy pilgrims, seeking God together.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, February 19th. Our host is Dennis Rainey; I’m Bob Lepine. Every woman is an older woman to somebody.
Every woman has something she can share with younger women. We’ll talk more about that today. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. It’s always nice when your wife Barbara joins us in the studio. Barbara, welcome.
Barbara: Thank you, Bob.
Bob: And it’s always nice to have an old friend back joining us as well. The only problem is—with your wife, and with our friend, and you—I’m not sure who’s going to get more mic time today; you know? This is going to be a little bit of an arm wrestle.
Dennis: Bob, I’m going to move off of the soapbox.
Bob: Yes; we’ll see how this holds. [Laughter]
Dennis: I’m going to give our friend, Nancy—[whom] I want you to introduce, because you’ve had a big part in her radio ministry. I just thought you ought to tell our listeners a little about that and introduce her to our audience today.
Bob: Well, it’s a treat to have Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in the studio with us. Nancy, welcome.
Nancy: Thank you, Bob, and Dennis, and Barbara.
Bob: Nancy was a guest on FamilyLife Today for the first time back in 1997. We talked about singleness. Do you remember?
Nancy: I remember being single, and I remember talking about it. [Laughter]
Bob: You and I looked at each other, afterwards, and said, “She should be on the radio all the time.”
Bob: Do you remember?
Dennis: I do!
Dennis: We said, “God loves you, and we have a wonderful plan for your life.” [Laughter]
Nancy: You did. [Laughter] That’s the way it went.
Bob: It was a few years later that, after a season of prayer, you sensed that maybe God was opening that door; and FamilyLife was part of helping get that launched. Revive Our Hearts is heard on more than 500 radio stations across the country, and you’ve been hosting events.
In fact, next fall will be the tenth anniversary of the True Woman events. You’ll be hosting an event in the fall of ’18, and our listeners can find out more about that event if they’d like by going to our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. We’ve got information available there.
Dennis: Nancy has written a book called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.
Nancy, I just want to start by just asking you for your opinion of what you see happening among women today. What do you think they are struggling with as they try to be God’s woman in the midst of this culture?
Nancy: Well, that’s a big question, and there are probably as many different answers as there are women; but I can just speak for my small frame of reference here and say that the good news is that I’m finding women are hungry. They’re eager to know God better, to know His Word, to know His ways, and to find out how to be God’s women in the midst of a culture that—they’re having to swim upstream as there is confusion in our culture as to, even, what it means to be a woman—whether there is a difference between men and women and why any of that should matter.
So, you’re having to be countercultural to be God’s woman today; and yet, there’s an excitement in my heart—and I think in a lot of these women—about how our lives can make a difference / can be a light in the darkness.
But we have to deal with our issues, and that includes things like busyness. And you find a lot of hurting and broken relationships—
Dennis: Yes; right.
Nancy: —trauma from—I have a friend—many, probably, but one I’m thinking of at the moment—who was walking through dealing with sexual abuse issues as a child and broken, fractured family issues. Now, this is second, and third, and fourth generation for some of these women. So, there’s not a great idea of or sense of how to live in family / how to live in relationship—
Dennis: Yes; right.
Nancy: —so dealing with the hurt and the pain and the wounds. The good news is the gospel, which says that, through Christ—there’s not a quick-fix for any of this—
Nancy: —but there is hope / there is grace—not only to have healing for our own hearts, but then to be used by God in other’s lives.
Dennis: As I was reading your book, I found it interesting to note that this burden that you have to equip women and to disciple them, really, was placed on your heart as a young lady—as a little girl, really; right?
You had that burden, early on.
Nancy: I did. Well, I had a love for the Lord, and a love for His kingdom, and a desire to serve Him in whatever way He would have for me. Now, I have to confess to you that when I first started doing women’s ministry, per se, in my early 20s, I didn’t have a particular burden or heart for women. I actually kind of felt that: “If God had made me a man, maybe, I could serve Him more effectively.” I didn’t have a vision for why God made women in general / why He made me a woman in particular.
We talk about those things today—it can sound a little strange—it wasn’t weirdness; it was just I didn’t understand the biblical perspective. Actually, it was doing some FamilyLife® radio programs, and then doing some writing, and then starting Revive Our Hearts that God started to unfold for me, in the Scripture, the beauty of what I had seen in some other women’s lives—
—but a calling to be God’s women in this generation. So, yes, I have had a heart for Christ that, as it has unfolded, has become a heart to serve and love women.
Dennis: That heart for Christ came because you grew up in a family where Jesus Christ was Lord and was modeled before you, not perfectly, but preeminently.
Nancy: Right; my parents were first generation Christians. They came to know the Lord as young adults. They were pretty young in their faith when they started our family. I was born nine months and four days after my parents got married. So, they hadn’t had really much time to develop their philosophy of parenting. FamilyLife® didn’t exist, but they loved God’s Word / they loved Christ. They said, “We want a home that is built on the foundation of God’s Word.” They asked the Lord for help, and they got God’s grace to figure out how to do that.
Dennis: And the point I wanted to make out of that is—
—I just want to challenge parents—when they look at their little girls—
Dennis: —their little boys, they need to be challenging them—
Nancy: Yes; yes.
Dennis: —to be great for Jesus Christ, to love Him preeminently, to serve Him—get a mission to go for it. I don’t think we are challenging our young people to a big enough vision.
Yesterday, I talked to a friend on the phone who has kind of a grandma’s camp [for her grandchildren]. She had asked a minister to come to her grandma’s camp to share stories around the campfire of both a young man and a young lady who had been challenged, early on, in their lives to make an impact for Jesus Christ. She brought that friend into her grandchildren’s lives so that they could hear about and get a vision for how a young person can really grow up to make a huge impact in their culture.
Nancy: This thing about a vision for your children is so important. My parents were not content to think that we would just be well-behaved, or stay out of trouble, or be kids who could fit into this world.
They wanted for themselves and for us that we would stand out—not because we were weird or odd—but because we loved Christ, loved His Word, and wanted to be used by God to make a difference in this world and in the kingdom of Christ. That didn’t mean we had to be famous, or be ministers, or Bible teachers.
Nancy: Wherever we were—my dad was a businessman, but he served the Lord as a light—he and my mother. Our home was—Barbara and I have talked about this—was an embassy where we were ambassadors, and serving the Lord, and welcoming people to come and get to know Jesus. We grew up seeing that Jesus really does make a difference in our parents’ lives, and He can make a difference in ours; and God can use us wherever we end up to be instruments of blessing and grace in the lives of others.
Bob: Barbara, I wonder what you think—because after four decades of marriage and family ministry—
—when you think about ministering to women as a unique group, do you see that as foundational; or do you see that as kind of a subset of broader ministry?
Barbara: Well, I think it’s foundational; because I think that women play such an important role—because of the family, in marriages with children—even if you don’t have children, you’re around children from time to time. I think it’s very, very crucial that women be taught and trained to have a vision for how their supposed to live and what God might want to do in their lives.
I think it’s more important today than it even used to be when I was a young woman; because there is so much confusion, as Nancy was talking about, and women don’t know what they’re supposed to do and not supposed to do. I think they need teaching and guidance more than ever.
Nancy: You know, one of the sweetest examples of this I ever saw was through Vonette Bright, who, with her husband Bill Bright, cofounded Campus Crusade for Christ®—
—now Cru®—which FamilyLife is a part of. As Vonette was dying, in the last several weeks of her life, Robert and I went to see her. I put a phone in front of her face and said—I knew Vonette always had a burden for women and for getting women to pray.
Barbara: Yes; she did.
Nancy: She used to call me and she’d say, “Honey, you’ve got to do something about getting women to pray.” As she got older and couldn’t do as much herself, she was trying to pass that baton. Well, when I stuck that phone recorder in front of her face, in the last segment of her life, she recorded several moments, just saying, “Honey, I don’t think women get the power that they hold / the influence that they could have—
Nancy: —“if they would love Christ and get on their knees and pray for this country / for this world.” And she said, “You’ve got to tell them what a difference their lives could make.” I’ve not forgotten that conversation.
Dennis: Men and women are image-bearers.
Dennis: And as such, they’re to reflect who God is and what He is about, here, on planet earth.
Dennis: Every woman, who is listening to our broadcast—for that matter, every man, every little girl, [and] every little boy, who is listening—ought to begin to grapple with: “What does God want me to do in this day for Him?”
Nancy: “It’s not about me.”
Dennis: “It’s not about me.” It’s about: “How do we take the good news of Jesus Christ—in a relevant way, compassionately speak to this broken world—and call people to follow Christ?”
Bob: Nancy, when the Apostle Paul wrote to his ministry companion, Titus, one of the burdens on his heart for what we’re to do, as followers of Christ, was that we’re to be intentional about transferring faith from one generation to another—not casual but purposeful and intentional. That’s really at the heart of the book that you’ve just written; right?
Nancy: Yes; the Book Titus—this is the storyline: Here is this fledgling church on the island of Crete. You’ve got the whole Roman government as the backdrop that hates Christians and wants to get rid of Christians. You’ve got Nero breathing down their neck, threatening to get rid of all of them. How is this little church supposed to survive, much less thrive, much less take the gospel to the world? It’s impossible!
Paul writes to Titus, his son in the faith. In the first chapter, he says, “You better make sure that these churches have leaders—elders/pastors—who are good examples of the gospel and who know how to teach the faith.”
Then, he comes to Chapter 2. He says to men, to women, to older people, to younger people—to each demographic: “This is what the gospel looks like on you,”—the relational dimension there of saying, “Older women,”—now, you can decide if you are older of younger—but we’re all an older woman to somebody; and we’re all a younger woman to somebody else.
He said, “Older women, you are supposed to model the gospel. You’re supposed to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers with your tongue. You’re not to be slaves to too much wine. This is what the gospel looks like on you.” Then, he says: “It’s not just enough for you to live it. You’re supposed to teach it to the younger women. You’re supposed to be actively involved—life to life, relationship to relationship, woman to woman.”
I don’t think Paul was envisioning women with, you know, PowerPoint presentations and pulling out their commentaries and being formal teachers of the Word. There are some of those, and that’s great; but I think he was saying, “This is something every woman in the body of Christ is to aspire to”—to live the gospel out in practical ways that affect us in the four walls of our homes, in the ways we talk, in the ways we think. And then, we’re supposed to be passing that legacy / that baton of faith on to the women of the next generation. There is no Plan “B” for how the gospel is to go forward in our world into the next generation.
Bob: Nancy, I think about that handoff that you are talking about; and I think there are some women, and some men, who are not really well-equipped to make the handoff because their holding the baton to loosely themselves.
Dennis: —or they’ve dropped it.
Bob: Right; I think there are others, who are thinking, “I’ve got to get this perfect before I can talk to anybody else.”
Nancy: Then, we’re all out.
Bob: So, help us understand: “Are there qualifications? Are there things that women need to know?—‘I shouldn’t be trying to influence the next generation until I get my act together’; but then, how far does your act have to get together before you start influencing the next generation?”
Nancy: Listen, we’re in this journey together. This is a relay race. We’re passing the baton from one hand to the other; and there is a point at which both hands are on that baton in that relay race. We’re not just teaching out of, “Here’s how I did this well.” We’re teaching, also, out of our failure / out of what we wish we had done differently.
Nancy: You know, Paul talks to these older women—
—he says, “Teach the younger women to love their husbands.” That’s the first qualification or the first part of this curriculum.
Well, I can imagine a woman, who has had a failed marriage, saying, “I can’t do that!” Well, yes, you can! You can teach out of what God has taught you on this journey, as you’ve humbled yourself—as you’ve dealt with the pain, or the shame, or the guilt—or whatever was involved in that situation. You can caution; you can warn. You can warn this young woman, who is dating a guy who is not a believer, and say: “Whoa! I did that! Here’s my life message about this.”
All of us are teaching out of our own lives, with the Word of God in our hands. We’re not experts in it, but we’re getting to know it. We’re learning it together, and we’re growing together in what it looks like to live as a woman of God.
Bob: And Barbara, I would think there would be some women, who just ought to have a check if they are thinking: “Boy, let me at them. I’ve got a lot that I can share with these younger women.”
They should probably pull back and cultivate a little more humility before they start talking. [Laughter] And those women, who would say, “Boy, I’m not sure I’ve got anything to share,”—they’re probably ready to share. They just need the equipping and the encouraging to move forward; right?
Barbara: And what I think that illustrates, in your question, is that we all need to be led by the Holy Spirit—because if we’re listening to Him, if we’re willing to go where He sends us and to talk to the people He puts in front of us, and we’re willing to share what He has done in our lives—then, we’re probably not going to go overboard in one direction or the other.
But I think you’re right. We do get caught up in: “Am I capable? Do I have enough to say?” and that’s not the question. The question is: “What is God calling me to do? Who has He put in my path?” and “What has He done in my life that I need to share with others that can benefit them?”
Dennis: And I want to go back to the story of the grandma who had Mimi’s Camp and brought in a minister to tell the stories to these kids.
Barbara: And one interesting thing about this woman—because I know who she is—she’s divorced. She had a really painful, painful divorce experience. She could have withdrawn and said: “I don’t have anything to offer.
Barbara: “I can’t do this.” Instead, she is so passionately investing in her grandchildren.
Dennis: She’s on a mission. That’s what I was going to share—I was going to say, “This woman, who has got a message—that message came out of brokenness.” I mean, out of something she thought she’d never have to deal with, as a woman.
I think there are probably listeners, right now, who have got their own mess. They’re wondering, “But God can’t use me.” The message you need to be hearing is that God delights in taking broken vessels and letting His light shine through those cracks in the clay pot.
Nancy: That becomes part of your life message. That failure, that defeat, that disappointment becomes a stepping stone to greater fruitfulness.
Listen, if we’re not ministering out of some level of brokenness and humility, probably, no one’s going to want to hear what we have to say; because they’re going to look at us and say: “You’re just this amazing woman. I could never walk with the Lord like you do.” We need to share honestly with them: “Look, here is how I have struggled / how I do struggle. Here is how I’m tempted, but this is how God gives me grace to deal with that.” We’re walking together in this, as very needy pilgrims, seeking God together.
Bob: And let’s just be clear here that our walk with Christ was never intended to be a solo walk. We all need one another, and we all need to be engaged in community. You’re calling women in this book to say: “Let’s be engaged in one another’s lives,” and “Spiritual transformation is going to be impeded unless we take those steps”; right?
Nancy: I often tell women, “You’re not going to get your major discipleship by listening to Revive Our Hearts” on radio—or FamilyLife Today, for that matter.
These women need somebody who can—who is flesh and blood; who does life with them; who walks with them; who is going to hold their hand through the messes of life; who will be there when that crisis call comes, or that husband leaves, or that prodigal child walks away from the Lord—somebody who can look them in the eyes, can love them, can encourage them, can pray with them. I can’t do that for them; you [Dennis] can’t do that for them; Barbara can’t do that for them, but Jesus can as He lives—one woman to another woman / life to life.
I’m not saying that’s not important for men. Other places in the Scripture talk about that; but here in Titus, Paul specifically, I think, taps into this relational wiring of women and says: “This is how lives are going to be transformed,” and “No one is exempt from this mission / from this calling.”
Dennis: I just want to read how the Book of Titus concludes—Chapter 3, verse 4, says, “But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that”—
—here’s the purpose clause of the passage—“so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.” We weren’t saved just to get us into heaven.
Dennis: We were redeemed to be on a mission, here, on this earth. Nancy, you mentioned it earlier—every home needs to be an embassy.
Every member needs to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ.
Dennis: If you walk out of your home this morning/this afternoon/tonight/or tomorrow, you’re stepping out of a threshold of an embassy of the King of kings and Lord of lords; and you’re stepping into a world that is hostile to that, but desperately needs you to be an ambassador who fulfills his assignment.
Bob: You know, I imagine there are women who have been listening. As we’ve been talking about the need for this engagement and passing on spiritual truth to other women, there is something in their own heart that’s just been stirring. They are going, “Yes; I resonate with that.” They should get a copy of the book, Adorned. There may be other women, who are thinking, “I don’t know if that’s really for me or not.” They should get a copy of the book, Adorned; because this is something for all women—to invest in younger women. It’s a part of the biblical mandate.
We, of course, have copies of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. It’s available in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. You can order it from us, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call to order at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again, the website is FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
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Now, tomorrow, we want to talk about one of the things that older women are to teach younger women, and it has to do with controlling your tongue. How do you keep from being a slanderer? We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. Our guest, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, will be back with us. I hope you can be back as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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