This weekend served as a good reminder to me of the value of mentors in the lives of students. For the past 8+ years, we have made small groups a primary part of our student ministry. We connect students with adults who will meet with them on a regular basis to build relationships, to study God’s Word and to create a safe place to share both the trials and triumphs in life. This weekend, we experienced a couple of “wins” that reinforced the value of that.
I am learning the importance of celebrating the wins. We tend to focus on what’s not right or what didn’t work and there is value in pointing out when good things happen. Also, with the nature of small groups and student ministry in general, you don’t normally see fruit or results until later down the road.
This weekend one of our junior high boys small groups made an effort to invite and include another guy in their group. They saw the guy at church, invited him to come to small group, made sure they knew where he needed to meet and he showed up! While they were encouraged by their small group leader, the students made the invitation.
Another of our groups – a 6th grade boys group – just completed a challenge put forth by their leaders. Each boy was given a certain amount of money to invest into a kingdom project. Each boy was given the freedom to choose where to use that money. I just received a report from the leaders about what each boy did. That’s a win!
Then, this morning, on my way into the office, I was listening to the Catalyst Podcast. One of the interviews was with Josh Shipp, who leads a mentoring ministry.
He said the biggest problem our students face today is a lack of Christian, caring adults involved in their lives. He then shared these two statistics. Students who have a caring adult who is not mom or dad in their lives are 50% more likely to succeed and 50% more likely to stay away from things that are destructive. What he shared just continued to point to the importance of involving caring, Christian adults into the lives of our students.
The entire interview is a good as Josh shares his story of how mentors in his life made a huge impact on him. (The Mandisa interview which preceded his is good, too.). Check it out on the Catalyst website.
I’m so grateful for the adult leaders who have been (and still are) are a part of my own children’s lives and for the small group leaders that lead in our ministry. They are making a difference.