How Boys Become Men

Three steps churches must take to mentor boys

by Mark Entzminger/ June 2, 2014

This Father’s Day think of investing in the fathers of the future. The passing of time will likely bring whiskers and an interest in the opposite sex, but what does it take for a boy to grow up to be a man of character? While one may find an occasional exception, boys grow into men of character because men of character invest in their lives.  

Sadly, we live in a generation where too many of our boys are growing up without their fathers.  Statistics show fatherless boys are more likely to drop out of high school, more likely to end up in jail, more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems, and more likely to commit suicide.

With a growing shortage of fathers it is important that everyone in the faith community look for ways to connect developing boys and men of character. Boys and young men are in the process of defining their values. Spending quality time in the company of men who understand and espouse biblical values helps boys adopt those values.  

Without this connection, boys are left to their peers and a self-focused culture to define their values. As the current generation matures, the impact of this fatherless generation will be increasingly apparent. Boys turning into men without a moral compass will become more prevalent. 

The church is uniquely poised to help boys navigate these cultural and spiritual waters on their journey to becoming a man of God. Churches can make a difference in three areas.

1. Become a marriage-centered church. Challenge men to be people of their word, to stand by their commitments, and to treat their wife with honor and respect. Boys need to see godly men in wholesome relationship with their wife. By helping men stand firm in their commitments to Christ and to their spouse, the church is creating a recipe for success.  Boys watch godly fathers to learn how to behave when “I get all grown up.”  Healthy Christ-centered marriages become the bedrock for raising godly boys.

2. Create environments where boys and men interact. Christian men, whether or not they have children of their own, can tune in to boys when a dad is not present, or they can simply serve as an additional voice to reinforce fathers’ voices. A cross-generational approach to events, missions outings, and other gatherings can have a profound impact on shaping the next generation of boys. This takes careful planning and communication. Men need to see the challenge and use the opportunity to shape the next generation. Be intentional.

3. Allow boys to lead. Something significant happens in the mind of a boy when a man trusts him with leadership. Every boy, regardless of his age, should be taught and expected to handle a measure of leadership and responsibility. Encourage men to work alongside boys as they grow in leadership. This is not to assign menial tasks under the guise of responsibility. It is to make a close connection designed to develop the boys’ to become leaders in their homes, churches, and communities.

Churches that strategically include these elements in their ministry to the next generation of men become beacons of hope for the homes in their community.

Boys become men of character in the company of men of character.