Do something: Become a mentor!
By Larry Coppock
““Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify (build up) another”
Sometimes I wear a black t-shirt with gold lettering that I received several years ago when I became a big brother to Calvin, my second “little.” It states “Do Something. Become a Mentor.” I like to wear it when I work out at the YMCA so it has maximum impact.
It’s nice to display these types of messages to cause people to think and act.
It’s been ten years since the commission signed an agreement with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) to become the first-ever national partner to provide faith-based mentoring support. Since that time, BBBS has moved their national office twice, had a complete turnover in senior level leadership, including all of the original staff that we collaborated with to craft our agreement. While these national agreements offer important endorsements and direction, ministry happens at the local level. More than 400 affiliate offices can help a potential mentor start the process.
Children of incarcerated parents stand a 70 percent probability rate of following their parent(s) into a life of crime. The population group most affected is African-American males.
This is unacceptable
Politicians and government leaders at high levels offer little in the form of advocacy or action to address this horrible trend. However, their inaction does not inhibit our ability to take leadership roles and make a difference. We are our brother’s keeper! It is up to each one of us to take that first step, and it’s never too late to start.
It is important to note that Gil Hanke, general secretary, began his “big brother” journey when prompted by a speech by Karl Dean, former mayor of Nashville, who serves as a big brother. Like Mayor Dean, Gil and I chose the school-based program as an option because it is flexible and fits rigorous travel schedules.
Several former conference presidents serve as big brothers along with countless others across our denomination. We appreciate their commitment.
However, we can do better. UM men should be setting the bar high with a servant-leadership model that reflects our numbers and passion for being “Doers of the Word.”
Please think and pray about becoming a big brother. It only takes an hour a week to make a significant difference in the life of a young boy.
Please contact me for more information.
Larry W. Coppock
National director of Scouting Ministries and director
General Commission on United Methodist Men