By Aaron E. Ziebarth
My wife, Stephanie, serves as Joy El's Barnabas mentor coordinator. Recently she shared these words with the adults who are mentoring students in Joy El's 4.12 Leadership Training program. I am sharing her comments with you with slight modifications.
Sometimes you might wonder whether what you’re doing with your student has eternal value. Well, the fact that you’re taking the time to mentor him/her indicates to me that you know it does. But let’s consider some statistics for a moment.
Because I’m burdened for young people, I take time to study their spiritual lives. Here’s a common statistic: Seven out of 10 young people will leave the church and abandon their faith after they leave high school. SEVENTY PERCENT! This is a big deal.
I recently returned from the annual Christian Camp and Conference Association conference. Among other learning opportunities there, I attended an elective led by Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries. Here is some good news he shared, referencing Steven Garber’s work in The Fabric of Faithfulness.
The three major factors in a young person’s life that indicate whether s/he will continue walking with Christ after high school are:
A) Having caring mentors
B) Developing a biblical worldview.
C) Experiencing Christ-centered community
Guess what? These are the major facets of the 4.12 Leadership Training Program! God is using you to equip your student to walk with Jesus for a lifetime. And walking with Jesus for a lifetime opens up all sorts of possibilities for how your student will be used in the Kingdom of God.
The students’ participate in three training summits annually. These are crucial in helping develop the biblical worldview and providing the Christ-centered community experience. Additionally, students are required to serve at least two weeks during summer camp. Indisputably, these weeks experienced in Christ-centered community provide unparalleled growth opportunities.
Mentoring is the fabric of the Joy El experience, whether in Released Time, at summer camp, or in the 4.12 Leadership Training program. I am thankful that we have this opportunity to help teens deepen their Christian faith.