The title of the project is taken from 1 Timothy 4:12:
“Let no one despise you for the sake of your youth, but be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity!”
The podcast episodes, with advice and guidance for anyone who wants to be a role model and mentor for others, have had 10,000 daily listeners. The episodes consist of inspiring and faith-strengthening messages, stories, and excerpts from an interview with Kåre J. Smith on the topic.
– A mentor is a shepherd. The shepherd shouldn’t think about himself: “I’m a bit cold now, I can’t be bothered.” He is a shepherd, he has responsibilities,” says Smith.
There is weight behind the words. Both in the form of life experience and biblical words.
When asked about the main task of someone who is a shepherd, Smith answers frankly:
– It is to draw them to the Father, to draw them to God. It was for the sake of this goal of leading us to God that Jesus suffered death according to the flesh.
He makes it clear that it is about helping people come out of sin, not accusing those who fall. But helping and giving faith and hope.
Drama from real life
“We have experimented with a new format, and simply retold current dilemmas that mentors experience,” says director Arvid Knutsen.
One day a week, the podcast has been about stories based on real events. They are performed by actors and are about relevant situations for a mentor.
Mercy Abraham (19) from Didcot in England highlights the stories as particularly relevant, as they helped to link the content of the project to current challenges.
– The first story about the girls on the soccer team made a big impression on me. Although the mentor didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, she didn’t do anything active either.
The story was about a 15-year-old girl who became valuable to God and to her friends because she was wholehearted. She took the initiative in the group when her mentor was passive. It wasn’t easy for her at first, but it had a good impact on the other girls.
“I’ve taken to heart that I have to actively do something good for the girls I’m involved with,” says Mercy.
In the local church in Didcot, young people have gathered in their homes to watch the project’s broadcasts together.
“The mentoring stories created a good opportunity for conversation among the young people,” says Paul Heaven (37), one of the more mature youth leaders in Didcot.
“It was encouraging to hear real examples of the challenges we face that we could easily identify with.
Caring for the younger ones
Paul is enthusiastic about what they have learned from the project. He emphasizes the importance of networking with other mentors:
“It’s been a reminder to see each person in the youth group as valuable individuals and to have a personal care. I’ve noticed that it has awakened a care in the youth group for the younger ones, and how to warmly guide them.
Closing the Bible study project at fall camp
Today, almost the entire youth group is traveling to the autumn camp at Brunstad.
“I’m really looking forward to the theme night on Saturday and hearing the discussion around the last story,” concludes Paul.
“There will be interesting films, stories and conversations about a topic that will support the young people in the important task of being a mentor.
The project has been translated into 15 languages and young people all over the world have been able to follow along.