Ken Bevel believes a man without a mentor is an accident waiting to happen. He came desperately close to being just such a disaster. As a teen, Ken followed in the shaky footsteps of his father, dabbling in drugs and alcohol. His desire for a disciplined life led him to join the Marines, yet he couldn’t shake his old ways and soon faced a possible court-martial. “I was fearless, angry, violent and trying to fit in with the crowd,” Ken says, “which is always a dangerous combination.”
That’s when something remarkable happened: One day in the parking lot at Walmart, three men approached Ken and asked him, “Are you saved?”
“No,” Ken replied, “but I need to be!” They prayed with him, and God redirected his life.
Dan Moody, a fellow Marine, started taking Ken to church. Dan became Ken’s mentor, showing him what it meant to follow Christ.
“He was the first to disciple me and hold me accountable,” Ken says. “We were roommates, so he had opportunities to speak into my life and provide a stable environment for growth.”
Another mentor, Bob Destafney, showed him what a healthy family looks like. “Bob taught me that family relationships are important and require nurturing,” Ken recalls. “His actions and commitment to his family spoke to me of how we are to develop relationships.”
Today at 38, Ken is a husband, father and newly ordained pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. And it’s Jim McBride, the executive pastor, who’s mentoring him in life and ministry.
“I am mission-driven and goal-oriented,” Ken says, “so my focus on things that matter can often be skewed. Jim helps me to focus on the right priorities.”
Pastor Jim recently called while Ken was at the airport and asked if he was spending enough time with his family. “I needed to hear that,” Ken responded.
Ken plays a lead role in the new movie Courageous, which is the fourth independent film produced by Sherwood Baptist Church. In the film, he portrays police officer Nathan Hayes, a mature Christian who has benefited from a mentor. For Ken, this role is art imitating life.
Ken says his faith in Christ and his penchant for latching onto good mentors has kept his life headed in a positive direction. “Men are drawn to strong leaders,” he says. “I was drawn to men who exhibited courage, honor and commitment.” Ken’s experiences have firmly convinced him that every man needs a mentor so no one lives his life as an accident waiting to happen.
The above article, “Mentoring Men,” is written by Dean Ridings. The article was excerpted from www.thrivingfamily.com in the August/September 2011 issue.
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