This year, the Seattle Church of Christ teen ministry is going to be making some inspiring changes. One of them, and the one for which I am most excited, is the implementation of a “Big Brother/Big Sister” mentoring program. We are going to be pushing for a start date in March, with the blessing of the evangelists and many of you. Until then, I wanted to write a series of three articles, or posts, or whatever you want to call them, that begins talking about why we are making these changes. Below is the first. The three part series is titled “Iron Sharpens Iron.”
Here’s what you can expect –
Part 1: Why We Need Them
Part 2: What God Says About It
Part 3: How We Will Do It
So without further ado, here is Part One: Why We Need Them:
Sometimes I wonder why God puts such a high priority on making sure we have other people watching out for us. For one thing, the world doesn’t always seem to be full of geniuses. For another, I know that I’ve made some pretty bad calls when the outcome of my decision concerns only me. I can only imagine how badly some things might turn out had I advised others in the way I advise myself.
That being said, I remember some timely bits of wisdom that helped (or would’ve helped) spare me some bad outcomes:
When I was seven or eight, I got done watching a He-Man marathon (hopefully you remember that show, because it’s as good as TV gets) on a Saturday morning. I looked up to He-Man, and thought I should be just like him, so I decided I was going to go down to the local park to “beat somebody up”. It didn’t matter who, so long as somebody got beat up. My older cousin Travis, whom I’ve always admired, advised me not to do such a thing. I did it anyway, and my parents found me later that day crying with a kid standing on my head in the sandbox. I wish I would’ve listened to Travis.
When I was eleven, I thought it was a good idea to use the side wall of my house as a makeshift hockey goal, and shoot pucks at it. Just before I began hitting pucks (which are dense, hard projectiles) at a delicately finished brick wall replete with windows, my brother Bryan came out and suggested I think twice before engaging in the activity. I think it spared me some pain later on.
When I was in high school, I played on a competitive hockey team comprised of mainly older (25-35 years old) French-speaking Swiss guys and my gym teacher Tim. I gained the nickname “Le Peu”, roughly translated as “Stinky”, because I wouldn’t shower immediately following games and practices. Those games or practices would sometimes precede a cramped eight to twelve hour bus ride home. Tim informed me of my budding reputation and gave me some advice on treating my equipment and proper sanitation after each game. He also proved to be about as good of a friend as I could ask for on those long bus rides, because I could hardly communicate with anyone else. I am grateful to him to this day.
When I was in college, I thought it would be a good idea to skip a week’s worth of classes and meet as many people as possible so that they could hear about Jesus. After the fact, I told Alex Whitaker of my success and zeal, and in return he zealously told me to re-examine my priorities and go to class. Not only in that instance, but in many others, do I owe Alex a great deal. He shaped my faith in some pretty major ways over the five years I was at the University of Washington.
I know those seem like silly examples, but they meant a lot at the time that they happened. And despite the triviality of each story, I needed each of those guys at those times in my life. They enriched my life and added wisdom at important times that shaped my future (whether it was short or long term) in significant ways. Whatever stage of life we’re at, we need some people to watch our backs. After all, as the writer in Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
That’s why we are going to push forward with our Big Brother/Big Sister project in the teen ministry. We all need somebody who will guide us, advise us, and be a source of wisdom in our wisdom-less times. More information will come out as the weeks progress towards March, particularly about the specifics of the program. In the meantime, I am only asking one thing from you:
- If you are a teen, start thinking about folks you look up to in the church. Consider their life, faith, career, personality, or whatever else you want, and see if you’re interested at knowing more about them.
- If you are not a teen, pray about your willingness to play a crucial role in somebody else’s life over the next couple of weeks. Ask God to examine your heart and find ways for you to bring more of Him to the world around you.
Thanks for reading!