Alumni Make M.O.V.E. Groups in Northeast Possible
When God led Mid-America to take the bold step towards educating and equipping Christian leaders beyond Memphis and New York by offering online classes (see Messenger Article), one prayer remained — “Lord, how can we ensure these emerging leaders get the same benefit of one-on-one mentoring our resident students do?”
Mid-America alumni and friends, particularly those in the Northeast where we launched the Mentored Online Virtual Education (M.O.V.E.) initiative, became the first answer to this prayer.
John Mulligan, Pastor of Open Arms Church in Rotterdam, NY, is one such alumnus. A native of New York, John spent his early career in the computer software industry. After sensing a call to ministry, he earned his MDiv from Mid-America’s Schenectady, NY campus, where he benefitted from the involvement of mentors himself.
We had a chance to interview John about his experience as a M.O.V.E. mentor:
Mid-America.: Why did you decide to be a M.O.V.E. Mentor? J.G.: I have walked alongside men for 30 years from my early days as a growing disciple of Christ until now as a pastor for 27 years. Those who display a thirst, eagerness, and the discipline to go deeper, deeper we go. The M.O.V.E. program enabled me to encourage and challenge three young men with whom I was already discipling to go beyond what I could offer alone.
Mid-America.: What have you heard a M.O.V.E. mentee express as a benefit of their participation in the program? J.G.: I’d say four key benefits. The first benefit has been that the students have helped each other navigate the logistics of online learning. I think the second would be our Proverb of the Day, which has proved to be a convicting, refreshing, and life-transforming discussion time. Third is that they have expressed hope and encouragement they derive from my transparency. It was difficult for me to juggle family, school, new pastor/church planter, and part-time employment. In me, they see God’s grace and faithfulness will be sufficient for them, too. Last, but perhaps most importantly, helping students understand the necessity of abiding in Jesus and reading God’s word regularly, not just when it’s an assignment. One of my mentees, Will Kent, shared the following with me:
“When we gather together, my mentor also holds us accountable in my witnessing requirements set forth by Mid America. Initially, these requirements seemed intimidating and overwhelming. However, my mentor gave me practical tools and feedback to gain confidence and success in witnessing. Mutual accountability with the other men in the program, hearing their own experiences, and sharing my own have all contributed in an incredible progression in my own comfort with sharing the Gospel. The Lord has shined through my weakness and used our group to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ to some who have never before heard this revelation.”
Mid-America: How have you personally benefitted from being a mentor in the M.O.V.E. program? J.G.: I am so pleased to observe these students grow in their knowledge of the Bible and ministry effectiveness through practical courses. They are always talking about what they’re learning. They are impacting the world as they share Jesus intentionally and consistently. They’re also changing our church in new and fruitful ways. I’m excited to affirm them in their success and encourage them in their challenges. There aren’t many things that inspire me more than to see young Christian leaders growing as disciples with a passion for being disciple-makers. John’s investment in others is just one example of Mid-America graduates’ ever-expanding impact to advance the Great Commission. Would you kindly take 20 seconds to pray that our graduates will be filled with God’s Spirit today, and faithful to His call? Interested in being a mentor to Mid-America’s online students? Click here to learn more.