Two guys heading out for a mountain bike ride is a common sight, but it’s less common to see a young person like Erik Newhouse, 18, riding with a church elder and empty nester like Terry Kraft,. The two have been paired up as part of a mentoring program at New Life Christian Reformed Church in Grand Junction, Colo.
Newhouse and Kraft, like other pairs, are working their way through material preparing Newhouse to make profession of faith, but they have found that they also enjoy spending time together outside of the study sessions.
Brad Bierma, the church’s director of youth ministries, has discovered that empty nesters are a great match for the high school students there. “I love plugging grandparent types into the lives of kids. I think it’s a vital role that we get to do in the church.”
“I’m just a youth pastor that’s here today, gone tomorrow” said Bierma, “So the more people in this church that I can plug into the lives of the students, the more people can speak Christ into their lives.”
This spring six students are participating in the program.
“Youth ministry at its base needs to be an encouragement of people fulfilling their baptismal vows,” said Bierma. “When we say that we’re going to pray for, help nurture, care for and raise a child in Christ, we really need to stand by that.”
Newhouse has found the program helpful. “It’s been good having somebody to listen and care about me, making sure I stick with the faith. Someone who doesn’t think they have everything figured out; doesn’t tell me how I’m supposed to be,” he said.
Newhouse plans to make profession of faith in early May.