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Bethlehem Blogs

January 12, 2018

Learning to Treasure Christ Together—Through Titus 2

Pam Larson

Minister for Women, North Campus

We’re looking forward to our annual Titus 2 Mentee Coffee on January 20! If you’re in your 20s or 30s and haven’t joined a Titus 2 group, now is a great time to think and pray about how God might bless you through mentorship.

Our Titus 2 ministry equips older women to lead you and a group of young women through a book study or a focus on a variety of skills. Both groups are designed to help you treasure Christ more, in the season of life he’s placed you in.   

We recently asked Deena Hougard, a Downtown Campus member, to share about how God has encouraged and challenged her, both through her mentors and the other women in her Titus 2 group. We’ll break up the interview over a few posts, so check back soon to hear more about her experience!

Tell our readers a bit about yourself.

My name is Deena Hougard, and I’ve been attending Bethlehem Baptist since I became a believer in my first year of college, Spring 2012. I was involved in Bethlehem's college ministry, Campus Outreach, at the University of Minnesota, which was how I came to know the Lord. I graduated in May 2015 and married a wonderful man, John Hougard, in December 2015. I work as a Software Engineer at Thomson Reuters in Eagan, Minnesota. In my free time, I love doing house projects with John, coming up with creative new meals, and running outside.

Why did you decide to join a Titus 2 group and what type of group did you join?

A few months after graduating college, I knew I wanted more community at Bethlehem, because I didn’t feel connected. I was a newlywed and got excited about the idea of meeting women of an older generation. I was hopeful to glean from their wisdom in a homemaking group, and I was eager to get to know others working side by side learning an aspect of homemaking. I also loved that it was a small commitment—meeting just once a month!

Did you have any preconceptions of what a homemaking group would be like? Were these confirmed, or has your experience differed from your expectations?

I thought a homemaking group was all about cooking and cleaning. But we’ve talked about so much more! Gardening, interior decorating, framing photos, laundry, etiquette, and hospitality. I also thought it would be “practical,” but we also see the importance of serving others. I also thought these older women were going to try to teach me something I could never duplicate—but that’s been far from true!

What have your favorite projects been thus far?

Some projects are things I’m already familiar with, like cooking and sewing. I have learned a ton about other things, like gardening and decorating a home. Other projects surprised me—who knew there was so much to know about laundry?! I also love when the mentors come up with a project that relates to our spiritual lives. For example, we made Advent candles last winter and discussed how we can make Christmas in our homes more about Jesus’ birth.

How have you been able to encourage one another in glorifying God through making a home?

These older women have encouraged me in so many areas. In places where I am weak, other members of my group are strong. And the reverse is true. I’ve been privileged to watch these women fight sin, trust God in hardship, and “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” It has been so encouraging to talk to these women about how to show others more of Jesus in our lives and in our homes!

What are three helpful lessons you’ve learned from your mentors or the other women in your group?

1. Marriage. When I first joined my Titus 2 group, I had only a few people in my life whom I could ask questions about marriage. In my group, there were five new women who were willing to help me learn about being a wife! I’ve learned about practical things, like finances and cleaning, but I've also learned how these women love and care for their husbands. I’ve seen how God convicts them of sin against their husbands and how they walk through repentance.

2. Hosting others. Being welcomed over the past two years into my mentors’ homes has helped me see the importance of hospitality.

3. Relating to/caring for each other. One of my favorite things about my Titus 2 group is that we get to watch each other “live life.” We’ve welcomed children and grandchildren and moved to new homes and jobs. We’ve rejoiced when a member finishes a hard class or semester. Some things have been challenging, like caring for unbelieving family members. Friends have moved away and relationships have changed. We’ve seen the challenges of having a newborn and provided meals and care for each other. We’ve walked alongside each other through the trials of cancer and the passing of a husband. These women are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” 

Some women hesitate to join homemaking groups because today’s society cringes at that calling. How would you encourage a woman facing that dilemma?

Women shouldn’t be afraid of being called a “homemaker.” After all, isn’t Jesus the ultimate “homemaker”—preparing a room for us in heaven (John 14:2)? Our society cringes at the idea of women being only good at childbearing and cooking, but God’s design for women is far more than what society says. We aim to serve in our homes, just as he has served us. And that doesn’t even touch upon the ways we can serve God outside of our homes. The goal of a Titus 2 homemaking group is not to build up “perfect” housewives to grace the cover of a 50’s magazine. The goal is to build up women who love Jesus and want others to love him too. We see more of him by serving in our homes—I think that is a right and biblical calling!