One of the toughest parts of having the role of youth minister is helping adolescent young people become active, productive adults. This is especially true of “boys” who often get stuck in a rut of boyhood, and tend to want to put off becoming men. (That is, real men; getting a driver’s license, dating, and drinking DOES NOT constitute manhood – just continued self-centered boyhood.)

Here is a clip from a helpful post over at on the transition to manhood.

Enter Joseph Campbell, a mythologist who did a renowned series of interviews with Bill Moyers on The Power of Myth. Campbell outlines what he calls “The hero’s journey.” George Lucas drew from this model when he made the Star Wars epic. The Lion King and the Matrix series were also modeled from the hero’s journey. I run my wilderness trips and personal revolution trainings based upon this classic model.

The hero’s journey has three basic stages:  severance, initiation, and the return. Campbell asserts that in order to successfully move on to the next developmental stage in our life, we have to go through a rite of passage. Campbell also purports that the all hero’s journeys have one thing in common—the ordeal.

The ordeal is something challenging we must face and on the other side is the reward that we must bring back to our community.  For thousands of years, tribal and indigenous cultures initiate young boys into manhood through formal rites and rituals.

The entire intiation process leads a man toward deeper and deeper self-knowledge, the key to fulfillment and realizing one’s potential in life.

Let’s look at the popular film The Matrix. In the Matrix, the main character Neo (Keanu Reeves) was just a computer geek who worked for a lame firm and hated his job. Without “the call” toward something else, he would have been like many men—shut down, unhappy, bitter about life and stuck on the hamster wheel at a job he hates, growing increasingly bitter and resentful toward others and life in general.

Watch this brilliant 3 minute clip about the Matrix and the Hero’s Journey here with Christopher Vogler: (11 more detailed stages of the hero’s journey are revealed in this incredible synopsis)