Mentoring Youth

I believe that in spite of what we do  to raise our kids so they turn out sensible and productive adults, outside influences can cause a good kid to go bad.

I believe that my three kids turned out great, and I praise God for that.

I don’t believe God just blessed us with good kids.

I believe he placed the right people in their paths to show them the way. Hence…

I’m considering writing a book about youth leaders and how they influence young people’s lives. This book would be based on my experience with my own children with the church’s youth leaders who had a positively influences my children’s lives. The model for the book would be a relationship my son Mondo had with his leader at K-Life named Matt Webel.

Each chapter of the book would feature a different relationship between a mentor and his or her protégé. Most of the stories would be positive, where the relationship helped the young person develop into a godly young person, which would demonstrate how these relationships can make a difference in one’s life. I would be remiss if I did not include chapters showing a negative outcomes, or use situations to present the importance of the right people in this very important position of influencing young people for God.

The first step in doing this book is to begin to blog the concept, compelling me to write about different angles and ideas and relate small pieces of what could become a substantial part of the book but it would give me an idea of how to proceed to collect the stories and process them into a sensible book. I would seek out these relationships to use as case studies, but I would also talk to people who could relate both the good and bad affects of these relationships. I would talk to parents teachers, pastors, employers and friends who witnessed and experienced both the good and the bad results of good mentoring.

I would also highlight throughout the book church and parachurch organizations both your typical church youth group, youth pastors and their assistance, but also the para church organizations like Young Life, K-Life and even college-level organizations like campus Crusade for Christ.

I’ve already consulted with Mondo who’s life is inspiring this book. He seems to think it’s a good idea and that it might have value not only as a resource book, but as inspiration to individuals and organizations responsible to positively influence the young. Many times over the past 10 years or so I have told people how much a blessing it’s been to me to have great young leaders in my children’s lives. Matt Webel, Zach Fay, Russ Mohr, and many more have become important people in the life of my family. And when I’ve been asked how did my children turned out as good as they did I would have to say that I cannot take all the credit, because I know that these young men and women in my children’s lives may have had possibly a stronger influence on my kids than I did at certain times in their lives.

I need a name for my blog—I probably won’t blog the book here. I would really like the name to be something close to, if not exactly, what I plan on calling the book. I thought a good working title would be “Youth Mentoring” but it’s not catchy enough. The title that really stuck in my head was, “Who’s your Webel.” My wife suggested that that might be too abstract, and thought maybe a reference to Paul and Timothy would be stronger because of it’s relevance to the Bible. Honestly, I need to do a little research on that because I believe that that just might be the angle I need in order to have this book resonate with the people who need it most.

The target audience would be churches as they consider how important it is to get the right people in the position of youth leader and indeed, youth leadership. The point there is that it’s not just the person running the program that matters, but all the helpers who will end up working one-on-one with the young people. It’s very important to have the right leader in place, and also the right amount of church staff and parent involvement in the youth program, but also we want to make sure that when we structure a youth program, we have helpers that will reflect this focus of quality leadership to guide those young people in the right direction.

I’ll continue to develop this idea as I said, start posting it to the blog. Thank you for listening.