by Rob Stacey - In this day and age it is easy to think that all we need can be found on the internet. Just the other day for instance, I grabbed my iPad, went on to YouTube and looked up “how to change brake pads”. Sure enough, up came a step-by-step video on how to change brake pads, made by none other than those people who write the old school Haines manuals for cars. Brilliant! I had those puppies done in an hour and saved myself about $100.
Now once upon a time, guys like me would have had a father or uncle or grandfather who would have had you or me under the car, greased up, pulling these out together. And to be honest, I would have preferred that as a young guy. The problem is, like so many young guys today, my dad wasn’t around and my granddad died before I was born.
Learning how to do something with care and a skilled hand comes through relationship. Something other than expertise is passed on when a mentor shows you how to do something. You gain a respect for the finer details. You learn why, not just how. You sense a passion for the craft and you gain a generational hand-me-down which stitches you into the fabric of manhood.
However it’s one thing to pass on practical skills to young men, but what about the spiritual legacy we can pass on from one generation to the next?
In the book of Deuteronomy we have this amazing encouragement from Moses, one of the fathers of faith, to the adults (or probably more precisely, the males) to pass on the foundations of a spiritual legacy and heritage that will form the very heart and foundation of a life lived with God.
“Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
A spiritual legacy starts in the home and is passed on through parents who live lives saturated by the Word of God and the life Jesus portrayed. Research tells us that when it comes to direction and values for life, our kids – and especially our teenagers – look first to the example and role of us as parents (and our boys, to us as fathers). If that role isn’t filled by a faithful and courageous male role model in the home, they will look elsewhere to fill that void.
I want to encourage you from my experience as a youth pastor of ten years and father of three great kids that our young men especially, long for the male figure in their life to mentor them in both word and deed.
Bo Boshers of Willow Creek Community Church offers this encouragement…
“Every place in life is a learning opportunity when character and values are the curriculum: sitting around the house, walking somewhere, working on the car, in the yard. It’s as if God says, do you want your kids to share your values - the values I gave you? Then they’ll have to see those values folded into your life so consistently that no matter what you do, they come pouring out of you.”*
If you don’t have someone to pass on the heritage of Christian faith to, find a boy like me in your sphere of influence who lacks a strong Christian male role model in their life and walk alongside them. Your mentoring may just change a life and the future of a family line… like mine.
*Bo Boshers & Judson Poling. The Be With Factor. Grand Rapids, Zondervan 2006.
Rob Stacey is the Generations Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Tauranga. Rob Stacey has been involved in youth ministries since 2001. He’s passionate about seeing people, especially young people, reach their full God given potential. Rob is married to Deb and they have three daughters.