by Cara Railey/ May 25, 2015
Gender-specific mentoring can be a critical component in any healthy discipling relationship. While I wholeheartedly believe we can be discipled by the opposite gender, I also believe that if you’re a man, it’s important to learn from other men (and vice-versa). The importance of gender-specific ministry is greatest in the area of children’s ministry. If we truly want to capture the hearts of boys and girls, we must understand their God-given uniqueness.
Why Gender-Specific Discipleship is An Important Part of Kids Ministry
In our organization, we’ve learned a lot through steering our gender-specific ministry programs Mpact (for girls) and Royal Rangers (for boys). Here are a few things we’ve learned in the research we’ve conducted:
1. Gender-specific discipleship solves the challenges of finding positive role models for kids in your ministry. There has been a lot of conversation about the lack of positive role models for many of today’s young boys. Gender-specific discipleship allows your kids’ ministry to help fill that void. At the same time, providing female leaders for girls in your ministry is essential for showing them they can play a valuable role in ministry when most churches staffs are made up of men.
2. Gender-specific discipleship helps eliminate distractions. Maybe it’s gender-based competition, flirting, or sexual tension. Separating boys and girls results in increased focus and concentration.
3. Gender-specific discipleship allows girls and boys to be more open in discussing personal issues. In most cases, boys and girls struggle with different issues. For example, many girls might struggle with self-image or self-value while boys struggle around topics related to authority or maturing into a Godly man. The sooner we put girls and boys in a safe environment to talk about these challenging subjects, the sooner these issues can be successfully handled.
4. Gender-specific discipleship naturally creates stronger bonds. The bonds forged through mentoring give girls a listening ear and boys camaraderie.
Of course there are opportunities that exist to minister to boys and girls together, but some of the most effective discipleship occurs when genders are separated. Don’t miss the opportunity to reach your kids in this specific way.
Do you remember a same-gender mentor who impacted you as a child? What did you learn from him or her?