Boys tend to become like the men they admire and follow. Men who take time to show genuine interest in boys help shape their character. A father, for example, sees himself duplicated over and over again in his son. Other men likewise become role models for boys who see them in action. If boys are to grow into men who love and serve Jesus Christ, it is obvious that the men they know and follow should exemplify Christian manhood. The characteristics of a growing Christian are the best guide for deciding who should be a Brigade leader. If these marks are true in your life, even to a modest degree, you are ready to begin a ministry to boys:
A living, growing personal relationship with Jesus Christ, based on knowing and trusting him personally as Savior and Lord
Before you can lead boys to Christ and help them grow, you must be sure of your own relationship with the Lord. If you cannot say with absolute certainty that you have salvation through Jesus Christ, it is vital that you determine your relationship to him. We recommend that you discuss this with a Christian friend or pastor.
Assurance of salvation and evidence of being controlled by the Spirit of God.
All those who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God. The believer is then commanded to be controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). A Spirit-controlled man receives the power to live the way God wants him to live (Acts 1:8). The work of the Holy Spirit within you as a Christian man becomes evident in your life. Galatians 5:22-23 lists a number of these expressions in daily life. In various ways, your life as the Spirit-filled man should increasingly reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
A continuing desire and effort to live a life that is pleasing to God.
A Christian man recognizes that God’s acceptance is not based on his own merit, but that it is based on Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death. Therefore, you strive to obey God’s commands in Scripture not because you can earn God’s acceptance, but because you love the Lord (John 14:15, 23). A life that is lived in obedience to God brings glory to God because it reflects his holy nature (Leviticus 19:2). This life begins within (Romans 12:1-2) and shows itself in daily conduct (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12).
A growing ability to read the Word of God and show developing maturity in attitude and conduct.
Through the Scriptures, men and boys can discover the Lord and the wonderful life He offers (John 10:10). According to Romans 10:17, faith is built through the Word: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” The Bible as inspired by God is the supreme and final authority for what a Christian believes and how he lives. If you are going to lead boys into this life-enriching journey, you must be able to read Scripture and put what you learn into practice.
A growing ability to pray with the confidence that your prayers will be answered.
God has promised believers that he will answer their prayers (1 John 5:14-15). Prayer is available to Christian men both as a tool for the cause of Christ and as a stabilizer to personal faith. Through prayer, God will begin to change the lives of boys as you bring them before God’s throne of grace.
Increasing desire and ability to explain the saving grace of Christ to an unbeliever.
God has commissioned each Christian to spread the Good News of God’s grace and to make disciples everywhere (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). As your desire and ability to do this increases, you will be able to reproduce and teach your own spiritual children (2 Timothy 2:2).
One of the greatest joys a Christian man experiences is leading someone to salvation through Christ and then seeing him grow in maturity. The extent to which the boys under your influence are reaching others is a direct indication of your own discipleship ministry.
An increasing consistency in maintaining a right relationship with other believers.
God’s Word states that Christians are united to Christ as head of his church and to one another as fellow believers (John 17:20-26; Ephesians 5:30; 1 Corinthians 12:27). Love, above all other characteristics, is meant to be the distinguishing mark of a Christian (Mark 12:29-31). God intends for this love to result in a sense of community — a oneness with and mutual concern for all other true believers.
As a Christian man who truly loves, you will find yourself giving of yourself, including your time, effort and possessions, to others. A growing Christian man will also find his place as an active participant in local assemblies of believers (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:24-25). In church fellowship, men grow. They are further prepared to serve Christ, both in the programs within the church and out in the world. Carefully investing your time, abilities and money will show your concern for the well-being of the total ministry of your church.