Written by: Ed Grable, Life Group Director
I have been a mentor at the Women's Resource Center (WRC) over the last few years. The men I have worked with are usually in one of the most challenging places in their life that they will ever face. Every encounter has been the same for me. The first session was always awkward. I could tell each guy did not want to be there and hated talking to me, some stranger asking about an often painful situation. But by our third meeting, the walls had started to come down, and they were engaged and becoming more comfortable talking to me about their lives.
After talking to the ladies at WRC recently, I sat in my car and wondered why I saw changes in these men. Then I realized it was because they were being built up and encouraged by the people of the WRC. They feel safe, supported, and loved when they walk through their doors. This was new to many of these guys. They all shared stories of how people had been unkind to them, and often they did not have a good role model or mentor. If there was a dad in the picture, he was absent and did not make his son a priority.
Then they become fathers without any real guidance or idea of raising a child. The fatherhood program helps them gain some wisdom and parenting skills that are time proven effective and give them confidence as a dad. I love watching the clients walk out after ten weeks with a certificate of completion, a new belief in themselves, and encouragement as they look to the future.
Stepping back and viewing things from an everyday perspective, I considered the value of encouraging men today. As a young man, life would have been easier to navigate if I had someone a few years older than me to guide my steps. Ideally, someone who was a mature Christian that has already faced similar challenges as a husband, father, and man of faith. Only in my thirties did I learn about the value of a good Christian mentor. Getting advice, talking through my struggles, and even being held accountable when I fell short was helpful.
It can be easy to get frustrated by the way the next generation is not meeting the expectations we have for them, especially when it comes to men leading their families and being champions for Christ. So how about we do something about it? I challenge you to find a young man who needs guidance, wisdom, or maturity in their faith and mentor them. It is up to us to stand in the gap and raise the next generation of men of God. We have future leaders, teachers, and even preachers in our faith family here at Gateway Church. They just need someone to encourage them along the way.
Start by praying and ask God to show you someone in your life that might need a mentor. Then invite them to coffee and see where it goes from there. You will be amazed at how willing these young men are to have an older guy invest in them. To have someone simply be a friend to whom they can talk to, gain wisdom, insight, and confidence both in their faith and in being the man they are called to be. As a mentor, you will grow in your appreciation for God's Word. Also as you reflect on your life, you will grow in your appreciation for all that God has brought you through, and your eyes will be open to all he is doing in your life today. Let us know if you have any questions or want to share your mentoring experience.
If you want to mentor young men and women in a parenting class at the Women's Resource Center, please contact Kristin Sharpe, the Client Services Director, at Kristin@wrchancock.org. She can connect you with someone you can mentor and support in their parenting journey.