I first came across the Trail Life USA organization before it had a staff, Troops or even a name. Now, the organization has exploded onto the scene. In just 8 months, Trail Life has chartered 700+ troops in churches all across the country. I think there are a few reasons for their success.
First - the organization is led by men (and women) of godly character. I have personally become acquainted with several of the board members and staff leaders. To a person, these are people who I would (and have) gladly put my own children around and lauded as godly men of integrity. They are the real deal and I think God has His hand on their efforts.
A brief story. One of the founding board members is David Servin. I first met David at a leader training in Nashville, and at this event I had brought three of my four sons. During the Friday evening session, my ten year old son jokingly (and quite subtly) mocked my raucous laughter. We were sitting at the same table as David and handful of other gentlemen.
Saturday morning, we bumped into David. He stopped, bent down toward my son, smiled and said, "Jonathan, did I see you mock your dad last night?" Jonathan sheepishly nodded. David continued, "Well, now, that's not very respectful is it? I think you owe your dad a Trailman's handshake and an apology."
David first took notice, then he took the time to engage and he did so in a way that was respectful and kind. Now, that is iron sharpening iron right there. I had a glimpse into David's heart that day and I liked what I saw.
Second - on a larger scale, I believe this organization is tapping into a growing renaissance of godly manhood in our country. We are finally waking up to realize that when godly manhood is abandoned, the country's moral fiber rips apart, beginning with the family. The statistics are piling up which reinforce the havoc that absentee fathers are wreaking on our society. From the tendency toward violent crime to lower grades to sexual promiscuity, all signs point to boys becoming much more likely to engage in self and societally destructive behavior when dad is out of the picture.
I believe our country and our churches have had enough and we realize that to win the next generation for Christ, we must work through and with their fathers for maximum impact. The last twenty years has seen the rise of organizations, authors and "celebrities" who are speaking loudly about the need for men to step up (Promise Keepers, Steve Farrar, David Murrow, Tony Dungy, et. al.).
Now, we stand poised for an organization like Trail Life to come alongside local churches and affect a tectonic shift in the character of our nation. I think we will do well to support Trail Life and their local Troops.
To be fair, I have a unique perspective on the organization. I helped establish a ministry called Manhood Journey, and we are a strategic Trail Life partner. Manhood Journey's father/son bible study tools are an optional tool for the Troops to use with their middle school aged young men. As such, I had the opportunity to attend a handful of their leader training events this year. At these events, I saw the leaders both from the stage and in private settings. I heard their heart and their passion for training godly young men and I resonated with their message.
Therefore, I am a proud partner of Trail Life USA. I pray for their continued success. I hope you will join me.