This natural process has been stymied and disrupted over the past two centuries. We have created a culture that separates parents from children for much of the week. Extended families are separated by many miles. Families—grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives—just don’t get together as often as they once did.
Most families try to ensure good mentors for their children through home, school and a myriad of other activities. However, youth who live in single parent homes, many of them fatherless, (more than 40% of kids are born to unwed mothers) are deprived of valuable and important relationships that help them thrive.
Natural mentors are harder to come by for the fatherless and kids growing up in single-parent homes.
Jesus mentored. He worked with a raw crew of men and women who helped turn the world upside down. Throughout history, this mentoring process built and sustained the church. Communities were formed, grew together, supported one another, and cared for each other.
Unfortunately, today, church life tends to mimic and reflect our secular western culture’s values. Our churches silo the generations. We often separate our children and youth from adults. Kids are sent away to youth group programs. Adults are sent to their own bible studies and educational programs. It’s rare to see the generations worship together. There are few, if any, opportunities for the generations to interact and get to really know each other.
In fact, the vast majority of our committed and active teenagers (an estimated 70-80%) are leaving our churches never to return! Once they hit senior year of high school, they find no real, deep connection and meaning to church life outside of a youth group. The lack of intergenerational relationships mothers) are deprived of valuable and important relationships that help them thrive.
An intergenerational great divide has emerged in our churches!
Mentoring is a key solution to addressing these two significant problems—kids in single parent homes and the fatherless and kids leaving our churches because of the intergenerational great divide.
The BIG QUESTION is how do we restore mentoring into the DNA of our churches?
In part two of this article, I will answer this question in more detail. I’ll also describe how CAYM is working to initiate a movement of Christian leaders, from around the country, who have come together on a mission to restore mentoring as a part of the DNA of the church.