“R.E.A.C.H. is not a formula, but rather a lifestyle...“
A mentor is defined as “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” A mentee is a person who is advised, trained, or counseled by a mentor. In ancient history, mentors were those persons who helped others find their way. Today, young adults place high value on connecting with people who have more life experiences than they do. Our young people want to learn from someone else’s experiences. This is called cross-generational mentorship. We all need someone to help us along the way, especially when we are young and seeking to make decisions.
Mentoring is a biblical concept. Although the word “mentor” itself is never used in the Scripture, the principles applied are found throughout the biblical text. We see numerous examples of mentoring relationships taking place in the Bible. In some cases, individuals were involved in multiple mentoring relationships. Sometime mentoring happened on a one-to-one basis, and in other cases, mentoring took place in a group setting. However, the group was always small enough to listen to, and interact with each individual. Jesus mentored 12, sometimes three and, on rare occasions, one.
According to research conducted by Lifeway:
- 45 percent of the unchurched young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar experiences as very important
- 68 percent of churched young adults identified the opportunity to receive advice from people with similar life experiences as very important
Based on these statistics and the climate of our community, we have drawn these conclusions:
- Both churched and unchurched young adults desire a maximum number of small group activities that promote relationship and belonging
- Both churched and unchurched young adults desire a maximum number of opportunities to connect with a mentor
Our targeted demographic consists of young adults(13-18 years of age) who have been marginalized due to their family structures. Most of our mentees often come from single parent/guardian homes and challenging neighborhoods within our community. Also, our mentees come from stable backgrounds and environments, but they need a listening ear from a trusted mentor. The objective of the mentoring program is to:
- Establish cross-generational productive relationships between mentor and mentee
- Guide each mentee into developing a relationship with Jesus Christ
- Provide different perspectives on life, living, and achievement through instructional teaching, life-example, educational outings, and community volunteerism
- Encourage self-respect, self-improvement, and self-worth
- Train mentees to be leaders and strategic thinkers who are able to critically think and problem solve
Our REACH mentors are willing to take the time to befriend, to care, and to share their life experiences to encourage another person. In Acts 20:17, Paul explains to the elders at Ephesus, “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you” (Acts 20:17). In other words, Paul is telling the elders, “I showed you, now you show them.” Show who? Show others in your faith community how to live their lives for Christ.
God has filled the body of Christ with many potential mentors besides those who are nameed as elders or shepherds. Our mentors are Godly men and women who are striving for perfection; they have experienced failures and successes in life; they have been gifted by the Holy Spirit; and they care about people. These qualities equip them to be exceptional mentors for God’s people.
Our strategy is simple and can be summarized in this statement; Everyone needs someone to point them to success. We all need to hear the words, “I believe in you” and “We, as a community, are committed to your life success”. Our program will consist of weekly gatherings between mentor and mentees, parents/guardians are welcome to join in. These gatherings will involve instructional teaching, life-example, educational outings, and community volunteerism – all designed to encourage relationship building and character development. Everyone needs a strong character model. Our mentors believe God has uniquely equipped them to walk side-by-side with another. Are you ready to take a walk?