Thursday, July 07, 2011

Testimony of Crossing the Generational Gap

Being a mentor…My first reaction is whew! Being a mentor is pretty hard. My next reaction? It’s pretty rewarding and can be a lot of fun. If I really think about it, I am in three mentor relationships. I asked Bob Simmons to be my mentor to which he readily agreed. He also noted it may really be a co-mentor relationship. Bob and I are both logical problem solvers. We are reading a book together, which we discuss over lunches. Both our schedules are pretty crazy, so we meet when we can, which is not as often as either of us would like. But it works pretty well for us. Bob is a great guy and very intelligent. I am really looking forward to the growth of our relationship. I would consider this my EASY mentor relationship.

Our Life Group has been working with the Youth Group this year to help create a bridge between younger and older members of East Hills Alliance. Work really isn’t the right word to use here. The young people in our church are awesome!! Our two groups have met at our home for dinner, games on the Wii, and board games. Everyone had a great time and looked forward to our next gathering. Recently we met at the church for pizza and a game of Bible Pictionary. The Youth Group whipped us! Well, they beat us by one point, but they really know their Bible!

Admittedly, this may not be what might be considered a traditional mentor relationship. We believe, however, this is an important one. Our youth need examples of older Christians in the Church and in social environments. We can help them make the step from young Christians to adult Christians. Personally, I have developed great relationships with many of these young people, respect their dedication to our church and to their relationship with Christ. Have I already said they are awesome? Well, they are! I love them all.

I was asked by Tony Echerd to be his mentor. Of course I said yes. This young man is a great person and has a heart for God. This is my most difficult mentor relationship but will be my most rewarding. My work schedule makes it difficult to meet with Tony as often as I would like. He is busy with school and activities. The toughest thing for us is working on trust. He needs to know that he can trust me. If he thinks he can’t trust me, how can he tell me the things he needs help with? I can’t share anything he tells me with his parents, his friends, his siblings, anyone.

Our relationship is in its infancy. We’ve only met a few times for coffee and lunch. As much as I enjoy being around young people, as I grow older it is getting more difficult to relate. I believe being a teen today is much more difficult than when I was a teen. Meeting one-on-one is much different than when meeting in a group. The pressure is on!

It dawned on me recently how these things make it difficult for me to be a quality mentor. I’ve been doing some on-line research on being a Christian mentor and have found some great information. One site says men think they need to: make the journey alone, remain quiet, keep it under control, and that others won’t understand. My hope is Tony will understand none of this is necessary. His parents, family, church family and I are there to support him. This same website indicates mentoring is really about discipleship. We can learn from the experience of each other without making the same mistakes. We will naturally begin to mentor others as our skills become better.

My prayer is that Tony knows that he can trust me, and that our bond is based on our relationship with Christ. I look forward to continuing our friendship, watching him grow into an adult with a firm foundation in Christ, and serving as a mentor to young men. I pray Christ will bless our friendship and help me say the right things and make the right decisions.

Being in a mentoring relationship is hard! It’s fun! It’s rewarding! I am glad God put it on my heart to serve Him as a mentor. I hope you have found it to be the same for you.

Steve Jones

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