It’s one of my favorite things every year since moving to Boise. Man Camp. Or in other words…men’s retreat. I have been going now for about 6 years. I remember the first year. I had just moved to Boise and didn’t really know anyone. There was group of about 30 of us camping out next to Warm Lake outside of Cascade, Idaho. I was definitely the youngest guy there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wondered where all the “younger men” were. It's no secret that there is an exodus of Millennials in our churches today. And what I’ve observed is it's a lot of younger men. They're nowhere to be found. Why is that?
This year was different. We had again about 30 dudes. But most of them were under 30 years old. And as we got to talking over the weekend together, there was one singular theme that seemed to saturate every conversation: “Mentorship” These young men wanted to be mentored and to mentor. To impart wisdom and to gain wisdom. But as I looked around, there were not many “grey hairs" to be found. You know those men, the champions of faith. The men who have seen a lot of life. They're humble, curious and passionate. I know they exist.
So what does mentorship look like? Well, its pretty simple if you look at the model of Paul and Timothy. They shared a common mission. Ate food together and served the community together. They did life together. Mentorship doesn’t just consist of one person pouring all their energy, insight and knowledge into the other. Mentorship is co-creating, co-living, co-learning between the older and the younger generations.
So my challenge for you men is this…For the older men…Don’t wait for a millennial to come to you and ask to be mentored, go after them. They are hungry for deeper relationships and are looking for older generations to stop dismissing and to start empowering them. Paul recognized the importance of equipping a successor to carry on the gospel message after his life and ministry was over. He spent time pouring into Timothy. Loving him as his son. Acts 16:3 clearly states that “Paul wanted to take him along on the journey.” We need men like that. For the younger men…Get a mentor. Someone to do life with. Someone who has “been there” “done that”. You don’t have all the answers, so become a learner from these “heroes of faith”. One of the most gratifying things in Paul's life had to be watching Timothy develop into a "man of God" (1 Tim. 6:11). His letters seem clearly to expect Timothy to make progress, not just by listening to Paul, but by being diligent and self-disciplined.
For more information on mentorship check out some of these links: