There is a very good premise in our society that seems to be slipping away: young people need guidance. For a long time we assumed that our public education system was providing this guidance but in this current age this system is just trying to survive. In most cases schools try to pass on knowledge but do very little in the way of guidance and mentoring. Parents seem too busy to train children in character and in many cases churches are too occupied with entertaining youth instead of helping them to grow in faith and character.
We know the primary responsibility for godly instruction falls to the parents. We are the ones who have been directed by God to raise the children in his ways from infancy :
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
There are several commands of this nature and as we read the Word of God in it's entirety we discover that training, guiding, mentoring is a very important part of what we are to do, as parents and as the Church. Training our young people not entertaining them should be our focus. But the best training is when a dad or mom invites others to surround them with support, encouraging others to help them with the training of their teenager. Wise parents will make an effort to provide good mentoring for their adolescent who needs help while growing into adulthood. This is far from a new concept:
Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
Paul was a long time mentor for Timothy, having chosen him to join him on his second missions trip. Timothy was brought on to cook meals and wash clothes while Paul and Silas ministered but Paul also took the time to mentor. It wasn't long before Timothy joined in the ministry according to what was prophesied over him and as well as his gifting.
Many of our young people are floundering on their own with no good, strong mentors to help them. Without godly mentors they are either trying to do things on their own or they are finding their own mentors. They find them in movie stars, singers, perhaps a neighbour or in each other. We find 19 year olds mentoring 18 year olds and doing it badly because they have not yet gained the godly wisdom that is needed.
It's going to take someone like you, someone centered on Christ, someone filled by the Spirit with godly wisdom, someone knowledgeable in the Word and Spirit, someone willing to sacrifice time and emotions, to come alongside a youth, to be willing to be a support, influence, guide, encourager and instructor. It is done every day in sports and business. It is being done every day in our parks and on our streets. If we do not provide good mentoring for every youth then they will find not-so-good mentors for themselves. You do not need to be young, hip or a youth leader. You only need to care enough to love, forgive, be patient, persistent and willing to give yourself. They need help, guidance, support and someone who will stick with them to the end. Haven't we lost enough of our kids to the world?