Scott Shutter was going through a tough time. He and his wife were getting a divorce and Scott knew that he needed help with everything he was experiencing. One Sunday after service, hurting and overwhelmed, Scott approached Brad Thomas, lead pastor at Austin Ridge, and said, “I need help. Is there someone I can talk to?”
After meeting with a Ridge pastor, Scott was introduced to the church’s care ministry. Ridge Care provides support for people in life-transforming circumstances, including marriage and family relationships, pre-marital education, dependent care for special needs individuals, divorce recovery, addictive behavior recovery, grief support, and pastoral care.
Scott met with Care Pastor Phillip Williams, who told Scott about Men Mentoring Men. He asked Scott, “Would you like someone to walk alongside you? Someone who can mentor you?” Scott answered, “Absolutely.” That’s how Scott came to meet Alan Patty.
“Alan is a great person,” Scott says of his mentor. “He has become the big brother I never had. I always wished for someone like Alan in my life. He’s a leader. He has such strong character.”
Scott and Alan began to meet regularly at coffee shops. “It takes a while to get to know each other,” says Alan. “Our first couple of meetings, we talked about why Scott was interested in Men Mentoring Men. I explained why I was in the program. We talked about our backgrounds and experiences and really just got to know each other as you would a friend.”
As trust built, the conversations grew deeper and Alan began to walk alongside Scott through his divorce. “Think of all the emotional “up-down-sideways” things that go along with a divorce,” says Scott. “Alan was a great sounding board. He was a shoulder to lean on through some really tough times and gave me really great advice. I’ve always gone to church, but I’d never experienced God’s grace like this, where someone came in and walked with me through some of the toughest times in my life.”
Alan and Scott both recognize that a mentoring relationship works only if Jesus remains the center of it. They open and close each conversation in prayer and talk about how God has been working in their lives since they last met. They discuss individual challenges and disappointments, then pray over them together.
“We always focus on Christ,” says Alan. “It’s really where deep, personal relationships can be formed—through the blood of Jesus Christ.”
About four months after meeting Alan, Scott was faced with another unexpected trial. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When the MRI scan came back with the diagnosis, the neurologist called Scott and told him to get to the emergency room immediately.
Scott first called his mom. Then, he called his mentor. “Alan was there the whole time. He came to the hospital and stayed with me,” says Scott. “He was a rock for me.”
Scott’s surgery was a success and, thankfully, his brain tumor turned out to be benign.
Scott recognizes the beauty of God’s grace and His provision in sending Alan to walk through these challenges with him, reliably directing him back to Christ. “To have the complete trust, love, support, and spiritual nurturing that I receive from Alan and other godly men I’ve met through the men’s mentoring program has made all the difference,” says Scott. “It’s been life-changing.”
Alan, typically, points to Jesus when describing what being a mentor means to him. “If you look at the model of Jesus Christ and what His ministry was all about, it was all about relationship,” he says. “My bond, my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, carries over into my mentoring relationship. I don’t have to have all of the answers for Scott, I just have to be a thought partner. Jesus is the answer.”