Saturday, August 21, 2010
iSBC Student Ministries Launching New Mentoring Initiative
In recent years, much research has gone into, and many books have been written on, the slow fade of student ministry. When the infamous study came out a few years ago that addressed the numbers of students who graduate from youth ministries across the nation and then decide to "graduate from church" as well, more than a few heads were turned. We have since learned that the statistics may not have been as bad as first thought, nevertheless, those of us who have been in the ministry a few years faced the fact that we could be contributing to a fragmented church body. The senior adults do their thing, the children do their thing and the youth do their thing. In some circles, the students never have an opportunity to worship with the rest of the local church body. Examination and reflection was in order.
For the last 18-24 months, I have prayerfully considered some strategies and models already in place in other churches, taking into consideration the opportunities and obstacles that exist in our own church. After numerous conversations with my ministry assistants (past and present), as well as other adult mentors in our ministry, we have come up with what we pray is a strategy that will help us have a dramatic impact on our students and, by extension, our world. A mentoring initiative called: 3:two:1 Contact!
For our purposes, understand that I am equating mentoring with "disciple-making." Perhaps you recall Jesus COMMANDING us to be involved in making disciples. I have a deeply held conviction that parents are to be the primary spiritual mentors for their children. In practice, however, this is not always the case. Some parents unintentionally, or possibly intentionally, abdicate this role to the church "professionals." We want to turn this trend around. We want to come alongside parents (represented by the "two" in 3:two:1) with four other people who can assist in the mentoring process. This also includes support for the parents in terms of equipping with resources and skills to enhance the mentoring process.
The "1" would be one of our "seasoned citizens." We have a treasure trove of senior adults at ISBC who are willing and able to "adopt" one of our students and build a strong relationship with him or her. Drawing upon priceless life experiences, these seniors can pray for, write to, cook with, eat with, build with, love on and counsel with a student; offering things which neither mom and dad nor I could.
The remaining spots in our equation will be filled by three of the following: one or more of the student's Bible study leaders, the Minister to Students (yours truly) and/or an at-large adult member of ISBC.
Only time will tell, but I can imagine that four adults plus two parents pouring themselves into a student for 6+ years (I can see these relationships lasting far beyond graduation) will pay some astronomical dividends.
If you would like more information about this initiative, feel free to call me at my office 423-323-2187. If you would like to be involved with a church that is endeavoring to cultivate eternal relationships for the sake of the cause of Christ, I invite you to come visit us at Indian Springs Baptist Church.
Click here for more student information: iSBC Student Ministries on the web
Click here for the main ISBC site