The Anatomy of a Spiritual Orphan
The spiritual orphan began life as a newborn Christian probably in his early to mid teens. If he was lucky, then he had an opportunity to be quasi-mentored by a youth leader, who, depending on the size of the youth group, was probably too busy to truly disciple the youth. I don't mean to intentionally degrade youth ministry. I know at least two of my friends from the military who have been involved in youth ministry. Be that as it may, the church doesn't do a very good job of transitioning kids from youth groups to adulthood. I know it's true because of the sheer number of sailors I've met who “used to be” in youth groups.
If the transition from youth to adulthood was effective, then those who “used to be” in church would still be there. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. I personally believe the transition period should be from the 16-18 year time period. During that time, a mentor would be assigned from the church. I use the word assigned loosely. It would be better for the mentor to simply choose a protégé than for one to be assigned.
So now that the youth, who is now 18 and probably about five years old as far as spiritual age is concerned, is on his own, he is now left essentially to his own devices. Maybe he will get involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, or Baptist Student Union, or Navigators, or a local church. Who knows? Maybe he will barely make it through his studies while playing video games. That's an option too.
Then he'll get a job, having been orphaned at (spiritually speaking) a very young age. If he's unlucky, he might never have a mentor guide him. If he is lucky, then God brings along someone who will lead him into a measure of greatness. It's not all about luck, but until there are more mentors available, it might as well be.
I was a spiritual orphan for about 18 months after leaving High school. Then Jojo Vicencio, a senior chief in the Navy, took me under his wing and guided me on the USS Mobile Bay. I'll forever be indebted to him, and count him one of my greatest supporters to this day. I have had several mentors since those days on the Mighty Mobile Bay, but I will also be eternally grateful for EMCS. Thank you, Jojo.
Have you been a spiritual orphan? Have you been rescued? Please tell your story!