Old Church, New Vitality

CAYM would like to start sharing stories of mentoring program successes. Please enjoy these stories and join us in continuing to pray for these programs. God is using mentoring in powerful ways across our country!

Pratt, Kansas, would seem like a bucolic setting in the center of our country’s breadbasket. But like many similar communities, this town is slowly dying. Healthy young people move away to what they envision are better opportunities in urban areas. Those who stay are old or too often caught in the debilitating cycle of drugs and crime.

The Presbyterian church in Pratt sparsely filled its pews with aging parishioners. Their leadership wondered how they could impact their small community and revive the congregation. Matters seemed to get worse when the small apartment building next door was the scene of a murder and two arsons related to the growing drug trade. What difference could a church of old people make?

Mentoring seemed to be the answer. Carol Stull, a retired school teacher, joined with Pastor Stephen Wing to start a mentoring program directed at youth from a local school. But how many mentors can you get out of the sixty people who attended Sunday services?

Twenty.

One third of Pratt Presbyterian Church is now mentoring Pratt’s youth, and other churches are starting to join in the movement to rescue the town’s youth. A favorite activity of the mentoring matches is to grow vegetables in the church’s garden. The older church members may not be able to play basketball or ride a skateboard, but they can start a gardening project that youth, even those growing up amidst farms, have not had a chance to explore.

Carol Stull and her team were trained by CAYM in 2013 …

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