The measure of a man: Raising Men of God

Raising Men of God

One of the responsibilities of a Man of God is to help raise up the next generation of godly young men. Whether you have a son of your own or simply volunteer with your church’s youth ministry, young men need older men to mentor them through adolescence and into adulthood successfully. And we’re not just talking about retired guys mentoring pre-teens. New Christians need mentors too.

When I was a new Christian in my mid-twenties, I moved to Idaho for graduate school. Upon my arrival, I immediately began searching for a church to call home. I knew that I was going to need all the help I could get navigating this new territory called faith. Several guys quickly befriended me, but two in particular took the time to mentor me.

The first was Loren, an engineer and family man from Oregon. Even though we’re about the same age, Loren had grown up in the church and had a solid faith. And when he saw this new believer wander through the doors, he stepped up and took me under his wing. I learned more about being a Christian man from Loren in four years than in the previous 25 years combined. And I get to continue learning from his example and teaching as we remain close friends today.

The second mentor was Lee. Lee was an elder at the church and an avid outdoorsman. He began taking me out on rivers and lakes fly fishing for cutthroat and steelhead trout. All the while we’d talk about God, marriage, parenting, ministry, and life as a Christian man. I’m grateful to Lee for his investment into a young man’s life. And I am blessed to occasionally get a fly wet with him when I visit Idaho.

The author, right, with friend Lee Neer steelhead fishing on Idaho's Clearwater River.

The author, right, with friend Lee Neer steelhead fishing on Idaho’s Clearwater River.

Cutthroat trout and mentoring on the Lochsa River, Idaho.

Cutthroat trout and mentoring on the Lochsa River, Idaho.

Today, because of the investment of two Men of God, I am able to invest in the spiritual growth of my own two sons. We read the Bible and other books together, pray together, talk together, and fly fish together. Every few months, I write each of them a letter, talking about our lives at the time and what the Lord has impressed upon my heart for them. The letters are in shoeboxes in my closet – the boys will get them when they go off to college in a few years.

Christian outdoor writer Steve Chapman says that we have to be intentional about training up our boys to be Men of God1. He writes,

With such an eternally serious charge staring me in the face [his son had just been born], I was motivated to seize my chance at preparing to become his “soul” provider. I pondered the things I would want him to know, searched the Scriptures for wisdom and guidance, and leaned on veteran dads for helpful advice.

While an alpha male might look out for his family’s safety and material needs, a Man of God intentionally plans to pass on a legacy of spiritual wisdom and faith to the young men in his life.

Proverbs 22:6 promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is older, he will not depart from it.”

 

Questions for thought

Who was your mentor? Your dad? A friend at church?

If you have kids, are you intentional about their spiritual training? What is your plan?

If you don’t have kids, what young people are you investing in?

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give us the courage to train up the next generation of young men to be Men of God. And when it gets tough, remind us of your promise in Proverbs 22:6. Let each of us become that person who made all the difference in someone’s life, starting with our own children. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

1 10 Things I want my son to know, Steve Chapman, 2002. (By the way, his wife Annie wrote a great companion book, 10 Things I want my Daughter to Know.)

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About Dave Cummings

Dave Cummings is a husband, father of three, college professor, biologist, and urban outdoorsman. Most importantly, he is a Christ follower.
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3 Responses to The measure of a man: Raising Men of God

  1. ryan says:

    I have had several mentors, but probably the most influential was my Dad. I am quite thankful that he invested into us our entire lives. At 5 years old he would bring us to the jobsite to see what he did. He let us work in the shop at an early age and instead of making dangerous tools off limits, he gave us very thorough safety lessons. He made their financial discussions family conversations so that we would understand how to manage money. All of this made my brother and I know what manhood was supposed to be (not that I could articulate it all) and taught us responsibility. It actually has led to a wonderful friendship with my parents, even during high school, and going on today.

    • That’s really interesting. I think most parents try to protect our kids from everything: power tools, bullies, budget worries. Your parents let you enter their world and guided you to where you were ready for it. Author Mark Gregston says that our kids are going to eventually inheret the adult world anyway – why not teach them how to handle it rather than protect them from it?

    • What about the rest of you? Who mentored you and how did they go about it?

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