Did you know that a group of rhinoceros is called a “crash?” They also have horrible vision. These two facts go hand in hand, because as you can imagine, a group of enormous semi-blind mammals running forward with spikes on their noses has a tendency to crash into things. That might sound clumsy, but I’d bet that just about anything that stands in the way of these hulking creatures is bound to have a bad day. As long as they’re moving forward together, they’re going to get through just about anything.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this. We are beginning a mentoring program here in the VCOC for our teen ministry. While we’ve gotten advice, and had a number of conversations with people, and prayed fervently, we’ve not really done something quite like this before in the VCOC. It’s brand new territory. We are a bit like a crash of rhinoceros – not the sharpest group around – but I believe that if we huddle up and move forward together, there’s a lot of power behind it.

So without further adieu:

Here are the guidelines for our mentoring program:
1. Each teen can have only one official mentor. Likewise, each mentor can mentor only one teen.
2. Staff and elders are off-limits to ask to be mentors.
3. We ask that you get together with your mentor at a minimum of once every three weeks.
4. Teen families, let me (Matt Rollins) know who it is you asked to mentor you.
5. Be willing to commit to at least one year of a mentoring relationship.
6. That’s it!

If you are a teen, here’s how you go about selecting a mentor:
1. Sit down with your parent/parents.
2. As a family, come up with a list of three people whom you would like to mentor you. It is important to do it as a family so you can talk it over, and everyone involved is comfortable with the choices.
3. After April 1, 2016, you (the teen) will approach the first person on your list and ask them to be your mentor. If that person cannot do it or has already been asked by someone else, ask the second person on your list (but don’t tell them that they’re your second choice, because that’s mean). If they’re unable, go down to the third.
4. Inform me (Matt Rollins) of who you got to be your mentor.

If you’re a parent:
1. Do everything in your power to have the family talk as outlined above to provide guidance and some suggestions that come to mind.
2. Do everything you can to set your son/daughter up for success. They may need a nudge in the right direction to get going. As with everything in life, you’re going to get out of this what you put in.
3. Resist the temptation to butt in and find your teen’s mentor for them. It is important that they own the decision along with you, and your helicopter parenting will take away from their ownership.

If you’re a potential mentor (meaning any member who is not a teenager):
1. Pray over the next week that God would open your heart to influencing and getting involved with a teenager.
2. Don’t panic if you get asked. Jen and I will provide training, guidelines, and be available to you every step of the way to fulfilling your role as an incredible mentor.
3. If you don’t get asked, but would like to be a mentor, please let me know. I may be able to arrange something for you. There will undoubtedly be some teens who want a mentor, but don’t know anyone well enough to ask.

Thank you for bearing with these articles for the past three weeks. This Sunday, I am going to speak to the whole church about what we’re trying to do with this mentoring program. We’ll also have a devotional on April 1 at the Rollins house, replete with skits, to explain exactly how you should go about picking and choosing your mentors.

To be clear: Our goal is to get every teen in our church in a mentoring relationship. Yes, that means you, if you’re reading this. And mentoring isn’t a disguise for Bible studies – it’s a call to real relationship that will change the lives of everyone involved. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Here’s to a great year of sharpening!