The Mentoring Project

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Q: What do you hear from the moms of the children TMP
mentors?

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Miller: We’re hearing and seeing some really great
stories. A couple of days ago, one of our moms told us that hanging
out with a TMP mentor is the best thing that’s happened to her son
since his dad passed away. Another mom recently said she’s seen a
marked difference in her son’s ability to interact with adults. One
mom said that after spending time with his mentor, her son has
really calmed down and is able to concentrate better.

Q: When someone becomes a mentor, how does TMP provide
support and direction for that person?

Miller: We exist to serve the church. We operate in,
with, and through the local church. We want to inspire and equip
our mentors and help them as they engage the problem of
fatherlessness.

Q: You two serve on the Presidential Task Force for
Fatherhood Initiative. Why is the current presidential
administration prioritizing fatherhood so highly? What’s this task
force charged with accomplishing?

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Sowers: President Obama has a tremendous heart
for fathers and fatherless boys. This is largely because of his own
experience with fatherlessness. The task force he’s brought
together is really an amazing group of people, with a diverse range
of ideologies. But we’re all in agreement about the importance of
fathers and the necessity of reaching the fatherless.

Q: Churches nationwide are rethinking their family
ministry approach. What are the theological reasons to remember
single moms and their children as we build our models?

Sowers: The Bible makes it clear that God has a heart for
the fatherless. God loves to provide for, defend, and father the
fatherless, and he calls us, as his church, to do the same.

Q: Men who are good with kids are already especially
treasured volunteers in churches. Children’s ministers love to get
these guys on their teams where they can influence dozens of kids.
What’s the benefit of placing these men in one-to-one relationships
outside the church walls?

Sowers: In a one-to-one mentoring setting, a mentor has
some unique opportunities. He can give the mentee individualized
attention and demonstrate unconditional love. He can also be a
model during the normal everydayness of life, such as going out to
eat, playing basketball, or working on the car.

Q: If a church decides it’s ready to commit to being a
community that develops mentors, how does it engage TMP?

Miller: Right now, we’re simply asking churches to
contact us using the information on the website at thementoringproject.org.
We work in/with/through the local church and ask each church to
identify one person to work with us as the church liaison. This
person is the link who works directly with the TMP office and also
with the church.

Q: So imagine it’s 2020, and churches are now consistently
providing mentors for hundreds of thousands of sons of single moms.
What’s changed in our culture?

Miller: We want to see mentoring the fatherless become as
common as Sunday school in churches. We want to see this generation
of youth reached with the incarnational love of God. When this
happens, there’ll be less teenage pregnancies, drug abuse, gangs,
and suicides, and more contributing members of society-and
ultimately, we hope to see a generation come to know God as the
father they’ve never had. cm

Larry Shallenberger is a children’s pastor in Erie,
Pennsylvania. He’s the author of Divine Intentions.

     

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