25 free books given away today… read the post to see how to get them.
“For me the mentoring program was one of the greatest experiences of my exchange year. When I returned to my country, I missed the conversations between Anna and me a lot. Also, it makes church more personal and builds bridges between different generations in church.”
Wow! This teen had incredible insight in her evaluation of her mentoring experience while attending our church as an exchange student! Mentoring youth makes church more personal and intergenerational (which we’re hearing a lot about these days). We all know that mentoring is valuable. In recent years, many books and websites have been devoted to the value of mentoring – mentoring in the workplace, mentoring between women, mentoring students at school, mentoring youth in the community.
But is there a place within your youth ministry for mentoring?
Why set up a mentoring program when you already have a vibrant youth program?
Why bother when you have wonderful small groups for your church youth?
What I found when I was challenged to begin a mentoring program within my church’s high school ministry did not surprise me. I had seen the same need in other churches small and large. I found students who were not part of the mainstream youth program who needed a Christian adult to come alongside them and be their friend and encourager.
- I found parents who were desperate for help in getting their teen involved in church, and single parents who recognized the value of having another adult come alongside their teen.
- I found youth workers who cared deeply for their students and saw value in referring them to the mentor program for additional support.
- I found that we could all work together to support these young adults God placed in our care.
No matter how hard we try, there will always be some kids that just don’t quite get what they need out of a “normal” youth program. Even a healthy, growing one! Sometimes, students who fade into the woodwork in a large group would thrive with a one-on-one approach. On the other hand, active students-even those already connected in a small group-may be looking for a way to deepen their walk.
Enter the mentor. A mentoring program is another tool a youth worker can use to help students connect with God. It can be added to any youth ministry. Showing up and sharing God’s love with a young person by spending time with them one-on-one and investing in their lives is huge! Mentoring will produce God-sized results if we are willing to make the effort with even just a few students in each of our youth programs.
We want to help! I (Tami) will send out 25 FREE Mentor kits (start to finish–valued at $29.99) to the first 25 people who send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their mailing address (if you don’t hear back from Deb within 24 hours–you weren’t one of the first 25, sorry. I’ll give away another 25 on the next post on Doug’s blog–watch for it).
Question: Do you have students you can think of at this moment who would benefit from a mentor? Where have you seen God working in mentor relationships? Share your thoughts here.
Guest Post: Tami Wright was the volunteer coordinator of Mentoring on Purpose at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California for over 9 years. She is the co-author of Mentoring From Start to Finish. She and her husband, Larry, have worked as volunteer youth ministry leaders over the years –Larry fitting right in with the students and Tami trying to provide some structure! They have two married daughters and two grandchildren, Caleb and Vivienne. Tami is passionate about serving God, helping youth get connected with mentors who love Jesus, and spending time with Caleb and Vivi.