By Rene Allen
“You presented a very relevant topic about how mentoring the younger generation has changed. Spot on with the presentation – great topic!”
– Organic Mentoring Event Participant
On November 5, 2016, by design ministries sponsored an ‘Organic Mentoring’ event at Immanuel Church in Chelmsford, MA. The event was based on the book of the same title written by Dr. Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann. 180 women attended this event representing 58 churches and six states. We were privileged to have Dr. Edwards from Dallas Theological Seminary as our keynote speaker.
Each of the two sessions began with prayer and with worship led by Trinity Baptist Church’s worship band. This set our hearts’ expectations for God’s movement among us on this important topic, and move He did!
In session one, Dr. Edwards explored with us the new values, preferences, ideas and challenges of the next generation and showed how these impact mentoring. She shared that God commands us to pass our faith on to the next generation whether we are eighteen or eighty. Sue explained the call to come alongside women to become all-in and fully-developed Christ-followers. She gave us a great understanding of the characteristics of Modern women (the older generation) and of the Millennials (the next generation). The descriptions fit, and having laid that foundation, she began to teach the ‘how-to’ -and that is where God met us.
Young women hunger for life-strengthening relationships with older women who come alongside them for companionship, help, love and answers. Many of the myths of mentoring were dispelled – the older woman does not have to be Bible Answer Woman, and younger women are not necessarily looking to lock in a mentor for life – just a Sister in Season.
After discussing outdated methods and what actually works in connecting with one another through ‘natural’ (organic) interaction, we broke into workshop sessions where we had a chance to discuss what we’d heard. Our workshop leaders asked clarifying questions and we delved into the thoughts and opinions of both Moderns and Millennials in our groups for confirmation that we were going in the right direction.
Session two rounded out the teaching portion of the event with a look at transformation through shared experiences, a deeper understanding of what organic means in regard to being natural yet intentional in initiating a mentoring relationship, and the very real role that digital technology can play in mentoring. And there was more…
We were blessed to have a panel of Millennials who took the platform to address such topics as how they choose a mentor, why they may have more than one mentor, the hurts they experienced whe nrejected by a potential mentor, and which one in the relationship should initiate and why (Millennials do the choosing. Dr. Edwards taught this and they confirmed it!). Finally, the panel graciously answered some of our questions.
Throughout this event, it was evident that God was in the midst of us, counseling and moving, convicting and motivating attendees in whatever ways He needed to speak and to advance His kingdom. We learned and laughed and lit up with the ideas that the Holy Spirit imparted.
We were left with the unmistakable sense of the calling of God to take up the torch, passing the faith on to each other; to remember to keep connections natural and organic, while practicing enough intentionality so that opportunities occur. We look forward to hearing the stories of those who took this teaching to heart!
“Keep up with these conferences. They are spiritual and fun all wrapped up into one. You all did a fantastic job leading and speaking. You encouraged me to do more for our God and I thank you for this.”
– Organic Mentoring Event Participant
Rene Allen is a pastor’s wife and life coach, currently leading a women’s Bible study at her local church and mentoring several young women in her ministries in Lowell, MA. Prior to this, she led Bible studies and mentored young women at her previous church in Pittsburgh, PA.