As his first semester of college drew to a close, Guy Chmieleski opened the spring course catalog and had an unexpected experience.
“I flipped right past the science classes and straight to the religion classes. As I sat down with that catalog, it was like God was in my dorm room. He was guiding me,” said Chmieleski, who originally planned to major in chemistry. That semester, he took a large number of religion courses. “In a moment of weakness, I forged the signature of my chemistry adviser. I was terrified of what they would say.”
What initially began as interest in religion became a career, and Belmont University Minister Chmieleski has never looked back. He shared his personal experiences with faith and mentoring throughout college and discussed his new book Shaping Their Futures during a Wednesday convocation lecture.
Chmieleksi began by reading the parable of the sower from the book of Matthew. For him, the first seeds were planted in high school. However, it wasn’t until he reached college that the seeds began to grow. After changing his major, Chmieleski met a professor who would become one of the most influential people in his life.
“She blew up my world spiritually. She planted the seed in me,” he said emphasizing the importance she played as a mentor in his life.
She suggested Chmieleski consider working with college students. He took her advice and now shares her passion for mentorship.
“I sensed God making me available to college students,” he said.
“The events, programs, things you put on are great,” he said. “But I most remember and cherish the relationships.”
However, he fears the mentor-mentee relationship on college campuses is declining. The younger generation places greater value on self-experience, and takes greater ownership of opportunity, he said.
“Young people want to experience life for themselves,” he said. “They don’t want to be guided.”
He urged students, faculty and staff to challenge his observation.
“There are those out there who want to mentor, and those who want to be mentored,” he said. “It’s the greatest resource that a Christian University offers you. Don’t wait.”
Shaping their Futures: Mentoring Students through their Formative College Years is a guide for those in the role of mentor.
Before closing in prayer, he insisted that listeners seek relationships, regardless of whether they are the mentor or the mentee.
“The time is now,” he said. “There is no way to tell how God will use someone else to shape your life.”