Today's guest blog post is by Dr. Mindy Coates Smith. Mindy is the co-director of youth discipleship along with her husband R.O. at Bel Air Presbyterian Church here in Los Angeles. Bel Air was part of the 2010 Sticky Faith Cohort.
One way we have encouraged Sticky Faith in our church is by giving seniors the opportunity to have a consistent adult mentor.
The Senior Mentor program is a 16-month relationship between a senior in high school and an adult member of the congregation beginning September of the senior year and continuing to December of the following year. We suggest that students and mentors meet at least twice a month and they choose how to best spend their time, either reading a book together or simply discussing life and faith together. If a student moves away for college, the mentor is committed to continue the relationship, checking in to care for the student across the transition to college.
This mentor relationship is far from a perfect response to the larger issue of Sticky Faith, but we hope it is a least a small step in the right direction. Given that our church community is largely commuter, with attendees living as far as 30 miles from the church in every direction, a one-on-one relationship with someone who can meet on the student’s schedule is a huge benefit. Our larger hope would be that our church would grow into a mentoring community, a place where a mentor relationship would not need to be a formal program run out of the youth department, but would exist organically within the community.