Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Today’s post is from Jeff Henderson who leads Gwinnett Church in North Atlanta. Jeff and his good friend David Salyers have seen a need and met it with outstanding results. If you’ll ever have a middle school son or grandson, don’t miss this!
Over the years, as our kids have grown older, people have often asked my wife Wendy and I this question: “What’s the most important thing you did to help transition Jesse and Cole into the middle school and teenage years?”
That’s a great question.
It’s no secret that middle school is a difficult time in life. Youth pastor Derrick Harris says, “The 6th graders of today are the 8th graders of 10 years ago. Not because they are more mature, but because they are more exposed.” From exposure to pornography to peer pressure, middle schoolers have it more difficult than ever before.
But here’s the thing: Middle school isn’t just a difficult time in life, it’s a pivotal time in life. It’s in these years that kids are changing not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. It’s a transition unlike any other.
So, for myself and Wendy, we saw the transition into middle school as an important milestone in their lives.
Milestones are moments that mark our lives in a significant way. Things like the birth of a child, graduation ceremonies, weddings and retirement parties. They represent the end of a season of life and the beginning of a new one. After a milestone moment, we adopt a new identity of sorts.
Yet when it came time for my son Cole to transition into the teenage and middle school years, my friend David Salyers and I realized that there was a missing milestone. Throughout history in nearly every single culture there was a rite of passage, particularly from boyhood to manhood. Yet sadly, in our Western culture we have lost this important idea. It has become the Missing Milestone.
The importance of this Missing Milestone can not be overstated. It affects our families, communities, and nation in innumerable and immeasurable ways. Dr. John Trent writes in his book The Blessing, “If a young man fails to receive the blessing of his father, he will spend the rest of his life looking for it in all the wrong places.”
I didn’t want that for my son Cole, and neither did David for his sons. So, we teamed up to create a modern-day rite of passage for our boys. A rite of passage that was tons of fun but also paved the way for crucial conversations.
It eventually turned into what is now Champion Tribes, a group experience that gives fathers a plan to be intentional in their sons’ lives. A roadmap that we’re working hard to bring to families all across the country.
That, I think, is oftentimes the key: Parents have the passion, but they lack the plan. If this is you, here are some things to consider . . .
- It needs to be a moment in time, yet part of a journey.
- It should build upon ceremony and ritual.
- It needs to include your blessing.
- It needs to be done in community.
If you want to learn more about our experience, how we have helped hundreds of fathers navigate this important phase of life, and teach values like Commitment, Humility, Accountability and Perseverance, you can visit championtribes.com/how-it-works.
At the end of the day, no matter what stage of your life your child is in, don’t miss the milestone moments!
Scripture: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Reposted from Radical Mentoring
As someone who lives and breathes mentoring, I always light up when I find a Scripture about disciple-making. One time, I was reading through the book of Matthew and as I neared the end, I knew I was about to read the Great Commission. I’ve quoted it forever, but this time I was reading The Message paraphrase by Eugene Peterson and found words I didn’t expect . . .
“Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: ‘God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message)
Train everyone in ‘this way of life.’ The way of life Jesus taught and modeled.
But what does that mean, right now, in the real world? Here’s what ‘this way of life’ means to me personally . . .
- God is at the center of everything. The constant thought is “Thank you God.” “Thank you for loving me, for saving me, for adopting me into your family.” “Thank you for being with me, no matter what.”
- Don’t worry. Whatever is coming my way, whatever is in my future will come through God’s hand. If He’s not causing it, He’s allowing it. So I’m leaning into the future, trusting that God loves me, that He is good and that He’ll be accessible to me as I go through whatever.
- Be grateful for money, but never forget it all comes from Him. I can’t spend a single dollar in the dark. He knows what I spend His money for, so I’m challenged to be careful what I spend and why I’m spending it.
- The first place I’m to “train . . . in this way of life” is at home. Teaching and modeling the humility, selflessness and character of Jesus is my responsibility. Before Mom, before church, school, Boy Scouts, whatever . . . it’s Dad’s job to make disciples of his kids. To teach them ‘this way of life’ by living it as consistently as possible since values are caught more than taught. And to teach them the principles of God as God shows them uniquely to him.
- Live your life for others. The Father and other people were everything to Jesus. He taught and modeled total selflessness.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)
That’s what ‘this way of life’ means to me. Don’t get me wrong . . . I don’t live it out all the time. Far from it.
But ‘this way of life’ is what I want for me and my wife. It’s what I want for my kids and my grandkids. And it’s what I want for my mentees and their families. It’s what I want for everyone. It’s the best life possible. It’s incomparable.
Figuring out ‘this way of life’ is something everyone has to come to for himself. It would be pretty hard to argue against what I shared above since it’s straight from Scripture. But everyone has to seek God on their own, listen to His voice and fulfill His unique vision for their lives.
And the how questions are as plentiful as cars on the freeway. Family devotions? Family constitutions? Homeschooling? Mission trips? Serving in the church? Parachurch ministry? Leading a Radical Mentoring group? Everyone gets to figure out their own strategy for living and teaching ‘this way of life.’
So decide what ‘this way of life’ means for you. Write it down. Think about it. Pray over it. Talk to your wife about it. Commit yourself to it.
Then decide what you’ll do to teach it to others, starting with your family and moving out from there.
And then do it.
And if you need a jumpstart on some strategies for this, consider joining us on Nov 9-10 at the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum in Nashville, TN. It will teach you how to be a disciple-maker in any aspect of life . . . from church leadership, to parenting, to working in men’s ministry. I’ll be leading the Men’s Ministry track and our whole team will be there as well. You can receive 20% off tickets using the code MENTORLIKEJESUS (More info here).
Scripture: Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, The Message)