Men as mentors: Positive male influence and example seen as a critical need for boys
By: Brad Rowland
Men’s clubs are prevalent in The Salvation Army, with gatherings designed to induce fellowship and ministry in various ways. However, a targeted emphasis is now being placed on the expansion of men in mentoring capacities across the Southern Territory.
“We have men’s clubs throughout the territory, of course, but in an overall way, there are men in every corps across the territory,” said Major Mark Satterlee, territorial men’s ministries secretary. “What we’re trying to do is to emphasize men pouring themselves into the lives of young people and particularly young boys as that kind of role model and positive influence. It’s as simple as getting men involved in whatever way that we can, even if not always in formal roles.”
Major Satterlee notes that there is “some alarm” with statistics gathered in numerous surveys, indicating that there is a problem with a lack of male role models for young people and, especially, for young boys in the modern world. Though it must be noted that there is immense gratitude owed to amazing women in leadership that can and have made similar impacts, the facts and figures are not positive for those who don’t also have strong male influences of some sort in their lives. As such, an importance is being placed when it comes to challenging men to step in when it comes to local ministry and leadership opportunities.
“Numerous studies tell us that, especially for those in elementary school and in junior high, boys need to see godly men that can be role models for them on a continual basis,” Major Satterlee said.
The Adventure Corps program is a potential conduit for that kind of role modeling and dedicated mentorship, though Major Satterlee notes that the effort in the territory is “certainly not limited” to that specific program. The Salvation Army’s Caliber program, an initiative to help encourage and measure the impact and achievement of men in the Southeast, is seemingly yielding positive results, with reports of buy-in and an uptick in men’s ministry and leadership in certain corps.
Major Satterlee notes that, as many can report both inside and outside The Salvation Army, strong male leadership during his youth helped to chart a positive course in his own life. From there, he can see the need for replication.
“Personally, I still recall those kinds of uplifting influences in my life, outside of my own home, and I ended up looking up to those men in my corps as a young person,” he said. “I saw them living out the Christian life, and it unquestionably helped me to model it in my own life.”
“Maybe it’s a one-time thing initially, using a volunteer opportunity or something like that, but men can start getting involved in the lives of these boys, hoping they can continue to be a Christian influence,” Major Satterlee said. “To put it plainly, boys need men. Boys need positive role models. To me, that’s the bottom line and we need more of it in our world today.”