Since the Royal Rangers program first began in 1962, our mission has been to reach boys with the message of the gospel and to provide them with a pathway to Christlike manhood through an intentional discipleship process packaged with a variety of activities boys commonly enjoy. This activity-based, mentoring format, discipleship process has long been the central feature of the Royal Rangers program.
However, our ability to fulfill that mission in any given community is largely a product of the health of the Royal Rangers outposts in that area. Healthy outposts are naturally more effective at fulfilling that mission. How do we evaluate outpost health? What are the key factors or features that identify a healthy outpost? Although many criteria could be used, one reliable standard would be our “seven methods.”
The seven methods of Royal Rangers represent the seven “tools,” or aspects, of the program used by outpost leaders to facilitate the process of shaping boys into Bible-based, Christlike manhood. Although the ways in which these methods are represented in one outpost may vary significantly from another, all seven methods are needed to provide boys with a healthy, effective Royal Rangers experience.
As you consider each of these methods, use the questions provided to evaluate the degree to which each one is being effectively applied within your outpost and church. For additional information on the seven methods, refer to Chapter 4 of the Royal Rangers Leader Manual.
1. FRIENDSHIP: Building healthy, Christ-centered relationships among men and boys.
How healthy are the relationships among the boys in your outpost? Do they spend time together outside of church activities? Are they encouraging and supportive of one another?
How healthy are the relationships between the boys and their leaders? Do the boys seem to enjoy talking to or spending time with their leaders as a group outside of outpost activities, such as Sunday morning services or during school or community events?
2. ACTIVITIES: Bringing men and boys together around a variety of activities that provide something for every boy.
What proportion of men and boys in your church participate in your outpost activities? This is considering the total number of men and boys who attend your church, how many of them participate in your Royal Rangers activities?
Does your outpost regularly provide activities representing each of the five “core competencies” of Royal Rangers: outdoor activities; sports and fitness; trade skills; science and technology; and arts and culture? These categories represent the diversity of interests common among men and boys today.
3. IDENTITY: Inviting boys to connect and belong to a community of Christlike men.
In what ways do the men and boys of your outpost share a common identity? Do they frequently wear Royal Rangers T-shirts, uniforms, or other similar attire? Do they seem to take pride in being a part of their outpost and church?
4. ACHIEVEMENT: Providing every boy with a pathway for growth and recognition.
In what ways do you regularly celebrate the accomplishments of your boys and leaders? Do you conduct periodic award ceremonies or celebrate achievements in the church bulletin or pre-service announcements?
Are your boys and leaders encouraged to pursue personal and spiritual growth as much as Royal Rangers advancement? How do you recognize and celebrate spiritual milestones, such as salvations, water baptisms, or Holy Spirit baptisms?
5. DISCIPLESHIP: Growing boys into Christlike manhood through a systematic, guy-specific discipleship process.
Do you include Bible studies or devotions as a regular part of every Royal Rangers meeting and activity? Are you using reliable resources from Spirit-filled writers for these studies, such as the Royal Rangers Bible lessons on TRaCclub, Radiant Life curriculum, or Tru Fire materials? Do these times include opportunities for boys to learn and apply what they’re hearing by asking questions and engaging in open discussion?
6. LEADERSHIP: Developing servant leadership and personal growth within a small group environment.
Are your leaders and boys familiar with the Patrol System Matrix and the ways in which boy leadership can be developed and implemented within your outpost in accordance with the maturity and capabilities of your boys? Do your leaders actively look for ways to involve the boys in outpost decisions and planning or do they tend to do everything themselves?
What do you already know about the skills and abilities of your boys? How might you learn more?
7. SERVICE: Engaging boys in service to God, their family, church, and community.
How often do you use the service projects associated with the leadership merits to involve your boys in meaningful service projects to your community? What service opportunities are available in your area that would be age-appropriate for your boys? In what ways do the FCF members (and others) in your outpost regularly practice the FCF motto “to give and to serve?”
These are just a few of the questions you may ask yourself and your leaders as you evaluate the current health status of your outpost. Keep in mind that a healthy outpost can only exist when it is conducted in alignment with the vision of your pastor and the ministry structure and format of your church. Reviewing these questions with your church leadership can provide valuable insight into their perspective of your outpost’s health and the role Royal Rangers is intended to play within your church.
Pursuing outpost health is a continual, ongoing process that involves periodic evaluation and adjustment. As you commit yourself to the process and rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit, you can have confidence that your outpost can attain good health and reproduce spiritual health in the men and boys you serve.