Boyhood is a time of daring adventure, exploration, action and personal growth – that’s why adventure is a fundamental part of Trail Life’s mission. Adventure is a terrific way to capture the heart of a boy and teach important life lessons. Boys need godly men to lead the way. A boy without a mentor showing him the way is like an explorer without a compass, without a map.
The spiritual guidance that the Bible offers is so critical for young people today. A decade ago, I spent a year interviewing theologians, seminary professors, pastors, scholars, and counselors to ask them this question: What are the essentials a boy must understand to successfully navigate the journey to biblical Manhood? I started out with a long list, and slowly narrowed it down to four Biblical essentials (points on a compass if you will) that a young man who is about to move to manhood must understand:
- Community: Remember what Jesus said when he was asked, "What's the greatest commandment?" Love God, love others. We were made for relationship; we were made to love. And what we must do is train children in knowing how to love God and how to love their fellow man.
- Character: This is choosing what's right, not what's wrong. It's being wise and not a fool as the book of Proverbs teaches. It’s an integral part of Trail Life’s identity! - “Adventure, Character, Leadership.” Wisdom is godly, skillful living in everyday circumstances.
- Commitment: When I developed this list in 1990, I had no way of knowing that over the next three decades, the issue of gender and sexual identity would become ground zero of the cultural battle. Your work with boys - to help them understand how God makes us. Understanding how we are created and the importance of marriage and commitment is more critical today than ever before.
- Commission: Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We're not a random group of molecules. Our children need to know that they're created in God's image, and God has a purpose for them. And once they know this, then their mission is the great commission, Matthew 28: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
A generation is hanging in the balance. The world is trying to cause us to unplug. Don't do it. Too many men today are trading their sword for a nine iron. Mentoring and Discipleship are a great privilege and responsibility entrusted to us all. It's your assignment - and mine. We can't unplug from life.
I can't speak authoritatively on behalf of God, but it sure appears to me that Trail Life is doing this work, and doing it well. They are about the the making of a man.
You don't have to do it perfectly. You just have to do it. We're training the next generation to be warriors for Christ.