Years ago, our national leadership of the Assemblies of God realized the need to provide a ministry that would appeal to the unique interests of boys and provide churches with a platform to “reach, teach, and keep” the next generation of boys for Christ. The product of that realization was the Royal Rangers program, and although some terminology has changed over time, the mission of the program has remained constant—to mentor boys into true Christlike manhood.
The mission of Royal Rangers and the methods employed to achieve it are based on ageless Biblical principles that endure beyond cultural trends or personal preference. Luke 2:52 illustrates the multi-dimensional aspect of manhood modeled in the life of Christ as a young man: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” From this verse, we can identify four distinct aspects of a boy’s development:
“And Jesus grew in wisdom” – he grew mentally
“and in stature” – he grew physically
“and in favor with God” – he grew spiritually
“and (in favor with) man” – he grew socially
Through Christ’s example, we see that a boy’s path to manhood includes more than Bible training and worship services. While these certainly play a vital role in spiritual growth, they alone won’t lead boys to fully experience all God created for them to be. To achieve full manhood, a boy must be challenged to grow mentally, and physically, and spiritually, and socially according to the pattern of Christ. Any fully effective ministry to boys must promote a boy’s development in all four areas, and the structure and format of the Royal Rangers program is specifically designed to facilitate growth in each of these aspects of a boy’s life.
The process we employ to pursue growth is to follow the simple pattern given to us by the apostle Paul in his letter to Titus: “Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good” (Titus 2:6-7).
These words continue to ring true today, providing us with the central process of leading boys into Christlike manhood—gender-specific mentoring. Teaching boys Bible lessons and scriptural principles clearly has value, but the best way for boys to learn what Christlike manhood looks like is to see it modeled in the lives of men they know and respect—men who consistently “set them an example by doing what is good.”
Boys need a picture of manhood and a process for getting there. Scripture provides the picture in the life of Christ, but the process comes through the lives of everyday men who daily model the Christlike life before their boys as they do life together, side by side, instilling within them confidence, integrity, love, service, and sacrifice, consistently providing boys with a living image of the character of Christ.