Happy Birthday Mentoring for All Seasons!

Happy Birthday is celebrating the release of a new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God's Faithfulness

Last week was a super exciting week here at About His Work Ministries! We had a Big Birthday and Release Day celebration for the birth of my “baby” Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. In honor of this long awaited day, my hubby grilled salmon: my favorite food!!

Many have followed me on this year-long journey from writing the book last year in a very short four months, then the physical setbacks I had earlier this year with a concussion and then kidney surgery during the final edits. Praise God, nothing could stop His plans for Mentoring for All Season’s release day September 12!

Happy Book Borthday to Mentoring for All Seasons that released Sept. 12!

It’s been an amazing week of sharing this release on social media and guest posting every day, sometimes twice a day, on friends’ blog posts. This book is the culmination of what God has taught me over the past twenty years, when He took a woman who had no experience in women’s ministry or had never written a book or done any public speaking to start a ministry that has now blessed innumerable women and churches!

I was just an ordinary woman who said “Yes” to the Lord, and as they say, the rest has been HIStory. Some have heard or read my testimony, others may wonder how did Woman to Woman Mentoring come about? Who am I to write a book to help women mentoring each other in all seasons of life? Honestly, I’m surprised too: that God would choose me for such an honor to serve Him in this way.

So I thought today, I would share with you a little of the origins of my story.

I never planned to become a writer, speaker, or for sure not go into ministry! But isn’t that just like the Lord to direct us onto the paths He wants us to go, and we have a choice whether to follow Him or go our own direction. In my thirties, I chose my own path, but the Lord guided me back. I rededicated my life and His prodigal daughter returned with all my heart. Little did I know the plans He had for me.

Soon I was attending Fuller Theological Seminary getting a Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership, while managing an insurance agency and being a new bride with a blended family. I prayerfully attended a Women in Ministry Leadership Conference, hoping the Lord would reveal where He wanted to use me when I completed seminary, as long as it wasn’t in women’s ministry. Since I also had an MBA, surely it would be in business. Trying to create my own path again.

The Lord did speak to me, but not how I expected. I was enjoying a cup of coffee, waiting for the evening’s worship and teaching to begin with Jill Briscoe, when I heard a voice . . . “Go, and feed My sheep.” I looked around, but no one was speaking to me. I thought, “What sheep? Where? And what would I feed them if I found them?” Again, “Feed My sheep.” I muttered, “OK,” and spent the rest of the evening wondering what I had just agreed to do. Feed my sheep is my testimony in my new book Mntoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God's Faithfulness

I couldn’t wait to call my husband and excitedly share what I heard from the Lord. My godly husband suggested we pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of “Feed My sheep.”

The next morning, the workshop instructor taught from John 21:15-17 where Jesus tells Peter, feed My sheep. Her topic was “Shepherding Women in Your Church.” The Holy Spirit was answering our prayer. But women Lord?!

Returning home, I asked everyone to pray for me to find my sheep and for direction as to what to feed them when I found them. The first sheep bleat came from a business associate asking me to mentor her. I didn’t have a clue what “mentoring” meant, so I read the late Lucibel Van Atta’s Women Encouraging Women [out of print] and learned it was simply sharing my life experiences—the good and the bad—and God’s faithfulness through it all. I wondered if perhaps feed My sheep might mean mentoring women?

Soon I was also mentoring a young woman from my stepdaughter’s small group, where I had become a mentor to the group. Seemed like enough “sheep.” But then a life-altering encounter. The Lord divinely placed the Pastor to Young Adults at our church, Saddleback, and me simultaneously at the gym. I worked out daily, but this was the only time I ever saw Pastor Brad there. As we chatted, he mentioned that many women in his young adults group were asking where they could find a mentor.

As if God was sitting on my shoulder, I suddenly poured out my “feed My sheep” story. Pastor Brad said he thought I should start a mentoring ministry at Saddleback Church, not just mentor two mentees. What!? I wasn’t equipped to start a mentoring ministry. I had to read a book to figure out how to mentor. I did meet with the Pastor to New Ministries, who agreed with Pastor Brad and he handed me a “12-Step Planning Guide to Developing a Ministry at Saddleback.” With both pastors’ encouragement, I began going through the process of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

The Lord blessed our mentoring ministry and other churches started calling asking how they could start one. I couldn’t tell them everything over the phone, so I resigned from my insurance career, and wrote a Kit for churches to start a mentoring ministry. Today, God has taken the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry into churches around the world through the DVD Leader’s Kit, Woman to Woman Mentoring How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry. I continue to have the opportunity to share Woman to Woman Mentoring through my speaking and writing ministry, About His Work Ministries. I had no idea “feeding sheep” would go beyond Saddleback Church—even to international sheep.

Woman to Woman Mentoring is the Lord’s ministry following His mandate in Titus 2:1-8: one generation of Christian men and women must teach and train the next generations. When I let God guide, He allowed me to participate in something much bigger than I ever imagined. He changed my heart. He gave me a passion for the issues women deal with and wisdom in helping them turn to the Lord and to each other to navigate life’s seasons. Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, is a book for both mentors and mentees in every season of life from tweens to twilight years.

It’s been twenty-two years since I heard “Feed My sheep,” and I’m still feeding and mentoring them as the Lord leads.

Thank you for all your support and prayer, and for those who shared your stories, both as mentors and mentees, in this book. For those who have participated in church mentoring ministries or enjoyed mentoring in your personal lives, bless you for living out God’s direction for women in Titus 2:3-5.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Since the book released, there are so many stories already of women knowing other women who share their story in the book, and I encountered many while writing it. For example, I mentioned Lucibell Van Atta’s book was influential in helping me learn about mentoring only to discover that she was my friend Poppy Smith’s mentor! Poppy shares their story in the book along with 65 other mentors and mentees.

So it’s time to ask . . .

Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you through a new life season?

PS: If you lead a women’s ministry, mentoring ministry, and/or would like to share with your church, a special discount offer for Mentoring for All Seasons from the publisher, please contact me.

*Some parts of Feed My Sheep are excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons, shared with permission of Leafwood Publishers. Pages 22-29 has more of that story and the birthing of the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is now available at all online bookstores, Amazon, Christian bookstores, and signed by me at my website store.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. She is also the author of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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Love Song Couples Getaway

God’s Call?

Last fall, I was browsing Facebook and the web looking for a picture of the Harvest Crusade for a power point presentation to accompany my testimony at a retreat. 20 years ago, I rededicated my life to Christ at a Harvest Crusade led by Pastor Greg Laurie. When Pastor Greg asked if we were ready to die tonight, I knew at that time my answer would have been, “No.” Even though I had accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of twelve, as a divorced single mom I had spent many years backsliding.

On the Harvest Crusade Facebook page, there was a picture of Pastor Greg Laurie, so I decided to “Like” his Facebook page and saw that he was speaking in Maui in May 2013 at an event called The Love Song Couples Getaway at the Grand Wailea in Maui.

The Love Song Couples Getaway sounded like a perfect way to celebrate and commemorate two major life events. The same night I rededicated my life at the Harvest Crusade, I also heard God telling me to rededicate myself to the godly man He had given me to date, Dave! I did, and we were married 6 months later. So it was not only the 20th anniversary of me rededicating my life, but also our 20th wedding anniversary, which we had talked about celebrating in Hawaii. And Pastor Greg was going to be speaking at the Getaway…this had to be God!

I presented all this to Dave and he said, no. I told him that Mac Powell from Third Day would be leading worship, along with Chris August and Leeland, but still he felt it was too extravagant. So I gave up the cause . . . until December when I saw that they were having a Christmas discount. I again approached Dave, and this time he was more receptive. Several days later, he booked us to go!

The Witness

I was able to witness to so many people about why I thought God was leading us to take this trip. I told them about rededicating my life to God at the Harvest Crusade twenty years ago and that Pastor Greg Laurie would be speaking at the event in Maui, which just happened to coincide with our 20th wedding anniversary. Then I told them about how I had broken up with Dave before the Crusade, but that night we had sat in his car hashing out our relationship until the parking lot of Anaheim Stadium emptied, and how I felt God calling me to rededicate myself to Dave. I told versions of this story to people at the grocery store, hairdressers, family, friends, friends’ of friends, strangers . . . anyone who asked where we were going on vacation! It became quite a testimony.

A Glimpse of Heaven

The trip seemed so far off when we booked it last December, but May 23 we took off for the best vacation of our lives! Imagine Mac Powell, Chris August, and Leeland playing worship music on the sprawling lawn in front of the Grand Wailea chapel with the soft sound of the ocean waves accompanying them, or watching a beautiful Hawaiian sunset while listening to a worship concert by one of these amazing godly musicians. Or listening to Greg Laurie or Pastor Jim Wright (from Oregon) talk about our marriage relationship and our relationship with the Lord.

We all wore blue wristbands for admission into the Love Song events, but the wristbands also allowed us to identify each other on and off the resort. We made many new friends from all over the United States, Canada, and Australia because when you saw the wristbands, you knew this person was “family” . . . the family of God.

It was a glimpse of heaven: a tropical paradise with amazing Christian worship music morning and night and fellowshipping with hundreds of Christian believers.

When they announced where the trip would be next year—back to Maui or Paradise Island in the Bahamas—Dave was one of the first to jump out of his seat to sign up for the Bahamas.

If you’re looking for a vacation that combines Christian teaching, worship music, lots of free time, a chance to make new friends, or just be alone in a beautiful oasis, we highly recommend this God-centered vacation. The young couple orchestrating Love Song Couples Getaway feels it is their ministry to provide outstanding Christian getaways for couples. Dave and I would agree they are definitely fulfilling God’s call!

Mac Powell of Third Day and me                    Getting a book signed by Pastor Greg Laurie