It would be interesting to parallel mentoring younger women to an experience at Starbucks. Have you ever sat there and just taken in the entire environment? Talk about community! From the minute you walk in you feel like you are at home. People are friendly and most are there just to sit and enjoy something everyone else has in common. COFFEE! You walk up to the counter and have a million options at your disposal. “Tall, Carmel, Light, Frozen, FRAPPUCCINO®!” Suddenly, you feel empowered and excited about what is to come. You go to find a seat and have another sea of options: Tall table or short? Chair or couch? Cinnamon or Cream? No matter where you go, Starbucks is the same. It’s dependable, consistent and yet open ended and different. Everyone is welcome there and yes, you see them all; from the gothic girl with wildly spiked hair to the business lady with her locks tucked neatly into a tight bun. They all sit next to each other and its ok….as a matter of fact, it’s one of the only places in our culture that it is ok. Try to imagine a business woman next to a Gothic at your own local church….now that’s an exciting proposition to say the least! Why? Could it be that Jesus would be more in his element at Starbucks than in the pew? A friend of mine said that Starbucks is like the Christian version of a bar. Until Starbucks there were not many places to just hang out with people unless you were drinking beer. You can even go to Starbucks and just be alone, reading your paper and listening to smooth jazz from overhead. Wow, what a place! I didn’t even like coffee….but I loved the place. Don’t you think the church should be that place? Non-believers could love the place and then fall in love with the person who makes it run – Jesus the barista. What a concept! When ministering to younger women it’s important that you become that place. The place that is inviting, safe and open ended. Young women today want to be cared for and sought after but sometimes they give off an impression that they don’t need it. That’s because they live in a culture that demands that they make it on their own and prove that they have what it takes. But one of the best ways to invite a younger woman to join you is to say something like, “I’d love to hear your story, you seem like you really have a heart for God.” That interest on your part can be so powerful and sharing a story is a nonthreatening and inviting prospect to a younger woman. Here are a few principles to remember when you interact with a younger woman: Learn: Show a young woman that she has things to teach you as well. I have a mentor who has met with me since I was twelve. She has continued to care for me as a spiritual Mom through many seasons of my life. Over the years technology has changed. This last year she made the straining effort to try to speak my language through text messaging. I was so amazed and touched that she would do this just for me, especially when I could tell it was hard and even stressful at first. Over the years, we both have taught each other a lot about life and the Lord because she desires to learn from me as well. Listen: We don’t need answers, solutions or counsel until you have shown that you care about our journey and opinions. Learn to be comfortable without resolve or closure. And if you do have advice, learn to communicate through a question, like, “Why do you think God let that happen to you?”. As an older Christian woman you have so much wisdom, but it takes humility for a woman to ask a question when she already knows the answer. What do you want this young woman to see? How can you help her discover it without giving her the answer? This process takes practice but to a young woman it helps her feel like you were the guide but she discovered it on her on. Laugh: There is nothing more refreshing than a woman who laughs. There is something about laughter that invites a person to drop their guard and be themselves. If you can get a younger woman laughing you have become real and relatable to her. May God bless you and encourage you as you press on in a changing world. His truth and His Son will always remain relevant!