Fathers in the Field

Faith • Fatherhood • Forgiveness

Word From Base Camp: MENTOR

John Smithbaker

Let me share with you a story about a little boy who a friend of mine, Kristen, recently met. Their encounter was brief and nothing more than ordinary. But the impact that this little boy had on her heart was profound. The two met in the canned fruit aisle of the grocery store. She noticed him because of his bright red hair and sparkling eyes. He noticed her because of her hat. “I sure do like your hat,” he enthusiastically proclaimed. “Thank you,” she said. “I sure do like your hair,” she added and the two struck up a conversation right there in front of the rows of canned peaches. Isaiah was his name, he was eight, and he was bursting with energy. He hardly took a breath as he told his newfound friend about the things he got for Christmas, all the things he loved to do, and all of his family—his grandmother, mother, little sisters and younger brother. “We have seven people in our family!” Isaiah excitedly exclaimed. “Wow! That’s a big family!” Kristen said. “Yeah,” he said. And then, with a sigh that seemed to suck all of the joy out of this spunky little boy, Isaiah added, “We used to be a family of eight. But then, my dad left us.” Just as quickly as that reality deflated young Isaiah, it took Kristen’s breath away.

As she watched Isaiah return to his family and the responsibility of helping them all get through their daily shopping activity, she thought to herself, “Who is going to step up for this little guy? Who is going to take all that spunk and energy and direct it into godly manhood as he gets older? How is he going to learn how to trust his Heavenly Father and forgive his earthly dad?”

Who is going to mentor Isaiah?

God’s Word tells us that we are to share our love and knowledge of Him with those who come after us.
One generation shall praise Thy works to another,
And shall declare Thy mighty acts.
~ Psalm 145:4

Isaiah is waiting, along with millions of other abandoned boys in America, for godly men to come alongside them and show them the Lord’s mighty ways… to teach them who He is and who they can be as His sons.

What is holding you back from mentoring a boy like Isaiah? When I call on men to step up to this challenge and become Fathers in the Field Mentor Fathers, I typically hear two excuses.

The first: “I’m more gifted at hunting or fishing than teaching Sunday School.”

My response: GREAT! You are a perfect fit for Fathers in the Field which blends sound biblical instruction in God’s Word (provided through our Journey Talk curriculum and worship at the Mentor Father’s local church) with fun field experience in God’s Great Outdoors. Our goal is not to change you into a Bible teacher, but to channel your passion for God, His Word, and His Creation into life-change for a fatherless boy. As a Fathers in the Field Mentor Father you can reach a boy’s heart without ever leaving the comfort zone of your home church or the Great Outdoors.

The second excuse I often get when I ask men to become Mentor Fathers is simply, “I don’t know how. I’m not equipped for the job.”

My response: John 14:26.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,
He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
~ John 14:26

You don’t have to learn to be a Mentor Father. If you love the Lord and His Great Outdoors, God has already equipped you with all that you need… passion and the Holy Spirit. The only thing that is missing is your Field Buddy, and I guarantee that there are boys in your own backyard who, just like Isaiah, are desperately in need of a godly mentor.

Getting back to our story of Isaiah and Kristen...the two saw each other one more time in the checkout line that day at the grocery store. The boy commented again how much he liked her hat, asking her, “Where did you get that hat.” Kristen answered, “It came from a special place—a place far away called Israel.” Isaiah’s eyes widened and began to sparkle again. “You got that hat from the place where Jesus was born?!” he exclaimed. And then came the innocent but profound question that still rings in Kristen’s ears. “When you were there buying that hat, did you get to meet Jesus?” “I already know Him,” responded Kristen.

Isaiah is a boy who wants to know the Lord and to know people who know the Lord. There are countless boys just like him across this country. As you consider how to make 2011 the best New Year ever, will you consider becoming a Mentor Father and maybe one day fielding that same question for yourself: Do you know Jesus? Your answer could change the life of a young man forever.

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