Why Alumni Connect?
“I had such a positive experience with discipleship with the Navigators [during college],” Andrew began describing his reasons for choosing Alumni Connect. “I wanted to continue to have someone spiritually pouring into me in my new phase of life. I didn’t really have many connections when I was moving to Pittsburgh.”
He hoped this new mentorship relationship would be similar to his mentorship in college, where they would go through scripture, pray together, and just live life together. However, He was realistic about the change in dynamic off-campus.
“I didn’t think there would be a whole lot of ‘living life together’ post-college, just because we lived in two different spots, so really I guess it would be digging into scripture together, prayer and a form of accountability, too,” Andrew described his vision of a post-college mentor relationship. “Just somebody I could ask tough questions to, someone I could learn with.”
Gary connected Andrew and Ken, and they met over lunch once every two weeks at first, and that has decreased to about once a month over the years. Andrew also moved out of the Pittsburgh area and returned to his hometown of Indiana, PA.
“One of the biggest challenges [after college] has been finding a sense of community my own age, particularly believers my own age. And I did put some effort into that, and it was still a slow process. Work has been a little, I guess monotonous would be a good word for it,” Andrew laughed. “It’s not as energizing as college was or engaging… so I think finding a sense of purpose and a sense of doing something beneficial to the Kingdom, even in a secular workforce was hard.”
Originally, Andrew thought his mentor would be about 10-20 years older than him, but he has seen the benefits of working with a more seasoned believer.
“[Ken is] always available if I need him, or if something comes up and I ask for prayer. He’s very available and will make time to meet with me.” Andrew also appreciates that Ken is flexible and doesn’t get upset when plans change due to changes in his work schedule.
“I’ve met other people that I think would be great mentors but they can be very busy with business or their own personal life,” Andrew continued, “and they almost don’t seem to have time to do something like meet up every week or every other week.”
Spiritual Growth through Mentoring
Andrew has grown in trusting God, as well as staying accountable with reading scripture through this relationship with Ken.
“I can sometimes worry about things too much, and speaking with him I realized one thing he’s good at is legitimately trusting God. Ken has good perspective on trusting God and not worrying in situations– knowing how to trust God in a practical way,” Andrew explained. “He really helps keep me grounded, focused on things like spending time in God’s word.”
“There would be some weeks where I would have planned to spend to read the Bible, but the only time I would actually open up the Bible would be when I was with Ken or prepping before we got together,” he continued, “so in that way he helped me stay on the things that are important, but sometimes manage to take the back burner.”
Mentoring through Crisis
I’m definitely thankful that Gary put me in touch with Ken. It’s helped keep me grounded these past few years, and Ken has really been an encouragement spiritually, especially in some tough times.”
“Right after I got married, my wife had a pretty serious health scare, and all turned out well, but we were pretty concerned that it would be life-threatening,” he said. “So even being able to process a situation like that with somebody who is also a believer, and keeps pointing you back to God and points you to trust in God: that was a really beneficial time to have Ken in my life.”
Over the years:
Andrew has seen his walk with God grow each year as he is becoming more involved with the local church and learning the role of the local church. He also chose to return to his hometown.
“Becoming more involved in a local church has played a really significant role in my life spiritually,” he explained. “Now that I’m back in my hometown, I’m actually going to the church that I grew up in, and [went] back to them because they do have a local campus ministry at a local college. I had such a positive impact being part of a campus ministry back in college, that I have a passion for that as well.”
To Graduating Seniors:
“It’s going to be much more difficult that you realize to develop a strong sense of focus and community and faithful people around you and because of that, having a mentor who can help guide you through that process can be really really beneficial.”
Alumni connect served as a bridge between my time in college and finding that first point of community in my new location