So many Christian parents I know are struggling and praying for their adult children who have left the fold. I was one of those who went astray when I was young. I thought it was a rite of passage: you start asking questions, and you wander away from the church for a time, and eventually the Lord calls you back. We hope.
My children didn’t have to go through that dark time. I am so thankful for that fact, and I put the credit squarely where it is due: on the mentor for three of them.
Aaron Turner became the youth leader at our church when our triplets were in 7th or 8th grade. He took his responsibility seriously before God, and he pursued our children, a man on a mission. He took them out for breakfast or lunch once a month, and he challenged them. He did this for all the kids in the youth group, and he also lined up other mentors for them.
Adolescence is a time when kids naturally are pulling away from their parents and also asking questions in their minds, which they may not even be able to verbalize. In the normal course of things, this may lead to the child’s leaving the fold.
But I can see that if there is a committed Christian adult who not only is available to answer questions but is regularly asking them and stimulating these discussions, it makes all the difference, especially if this person is not the parent. Not only would the mentor ask the kid what his questions are, but would pose all the typical questions that people ask about Christianity, and go over the answers, using books like The Case for Christ by Lee Stroebel. That way the unasked questions get answered too.
The video below shows Aaron, now assistant to the pastor, introducing Nathan at a recent church service. Nathan is discussing his recent mission trip to Haiti, where he assisted three adults in constructing houses.