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By Laura Lehman Amstutz
“In American culture there is a need for real relationships,” said Mauricio Chenlo, professor of the newest online course to be added to EMS’ curriculum. The course, Mentoring Youth into Life, will focus on building mentoring relationships with youth.
When St. Augustine spoke of mentoring, he said, “Attract them by your way of life.”A mentoring relationship, to be successful, needs to draw youth into a way of life that leads them to God. Chenlo said, “Investing time in youth in a consistent way and nurturing a passion of Christ is a great chance to see how Christ is being nurtured in young folks that someday might commit themselves to Christ in unexpected ways.”
Chenlo has been involved in youth ministry for 20 years, since he was a youth himself. He said, “My home church was very strong with youth ministries and college so I had from my early days, exposure to being in leadership.”
Mentoring is not just something Chenlo has done himself; it is something he’s experienced. “For me it was very important to have one of the pastors mentor me in the basic Christian practices for a new believer, like prayer and scripture reading and connect it to real life issues.” Chenlo hopes to teach others to mentor as he has been mentored.
Chenlo hopes to draw on his student’s experiences for course activities. “I expect to find companions. People who have either been mentored by someone in the past, or have an interest in connecting more deeply with youth or young adults.” Students will read books, write reflective essays, interview others who mentor and those who are being mentored and develop their own proposal for a mentoring program in their own context.
Chenlo said, “To me faith is Christ and God acting within you. Mentoring is helping people to see how God is already acting in you, and through you in different situations.”
The course will run for 10 weeks this fall as part of the seminary’s distance learning curriculum. The course is an initiative of the Learning, Exploring, and Participating (LEAP) program. Chenlo is the director of Mennonite Mission Network's Hispanic Mission Training Academy.
Because potential students for this course may not have a college degree or may not desire seminary credit, this course will be less expensive and shorter than normal seminary courses. Two hours of continuing education credit or seminary course credit is offered for those who desire it. For seminary credit, students may be asked to complete additional course work. The cost of this course for this course is $300 for those who do not want to receive seminary credit for it. Seminary credit the cost is $630.
To learn more about distance learning courses, visit EMS’s website at www.emu.edu/distancelearning.