Frequently asked questions
How does Lightbearers disciple college students?
The aim of the Lightbearers Discipleship Community is to connect college students with Jesus, His people and His plan for the ends of the earth. We do this by owning and operating housing where students live and make a 12-month commitment to a discipleship community that provides an ecosystem for spiritual growth. The four elements that make up the Lightbearers Discipleship Community are: 1) Community, 2) Institute, 3) Mentorship and 4) Missions.
Who is a typical student?
Anyone who is between 18 and 25 years of age and desires to grow spiritually should apply. While most Lightbearers students are full-time college students at their city’s flagship school, we’ve had full-time students, part-time students, community college students, not-in-school students. Academic scholarships, athletic scholarships, no scholarships. Christian background, atheist background, no background. Local students, go home at Thanksgiving students and international students (from nearly a dozen countries!)
How do students find and join Lightbearers?
Students primarily come to Lightbearers in three ways: 1) A rising house leader recruits them to live with him, 2) An announcement or recommendation from a local church, and 3) “Walk-in traffic” (everything from a recommendation from a friend or relative to Googling “where to live” and finding the Lightbearers website!)
Students apply as individuals and can either request that we match them with other students to live with or request to live with a group of students they already know.
What does discipleship curriculum do I use?
We use a mixture of structured and spontaneous curriculum. Our Lightbearers Institute provides teaching in an academic setting that covers the Old and New Testament in one year and Theology and Practice the second year following a set syllabus. Our volunteer mentors have access to a variety of Lightbearers discipleship material but also tailor their mentorship based on the needs of the students. Likewise, students living together meet weekly with material provided by campus discipleship staff but much of their spiritual growth comes in the unstructured moments as well.
How do you match up mentors with students?
Above all, we try to match students with mentors from their local church. Sometimes the students themselves identify individuals in their churches that they approach for discipleship purposes. In this way, Lightbearers is simply a vehicle for the church’s discipleship of its own members. Beyond this factor, we look to other criteria such as age, vocation, family status and personality, and beg the Lord to “direct our steps” in this area (Proverbs 19:21).
Do you send students on overseas trips?
Lightbearers students commit to participating in missions. There are many different ways that students do this (including travelling with their own churches), so most students do not travel overseas with Lightbearers, but a few do each year. We see these trips as valuable discipleship opportunities, and we have three goals for these trips: 1) advance the long-term work of our mission partners, 2) Encourage the long-term workers, and 3) Enhance the students’ understanding of God’s plan for the ends of the earth. Those students who travel regularly return with a greater understand of both the “why” and “how” of missions.
Do you partner with other college ministries?
Our primary partners are local churches. As a parachurch ministry, Lightbearers desires to be a servant to the local church. To that end, we connect students with mentors from their churches, invite local pastors to speak at the Lightbearers Institute, encourage students to travel overseas with their churches, and recruit students to Lightbearers at the invitation of these churches. In addition, we work to maintain good relationships with evangelical parachurch ministries at our different campuses.
I’m interested in joining Lightbearers discipleship staff. Tell me more.
Our discipleship staff keeps the discipleship community moving. To that end, staff time is roughly split in three categories: 1) Time with college students (i.e. discipleship and mentoring, recruiting new students, conflict resolution, etc.), 2) Time with adults (usually mentors and pastors from local churches), and 3) Administrative work (i.e. event preparation, staff meetings, study time and support raising).
Staff come from a variety of backgrounds but are passionate to see Jesus bring about holistic change in the lives of college students and at the ends of the earth.
Email email@example.com to find out more or to apply!
Where does Lightbearers have discipleship ministries? Do you plan to expand?
Lightbearers has discipleship ministries around three major college campuses – University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR), Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK), and Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS). Our desire is to expand, as the Lord allows, and would provide us with additional resources by way of prospective staff, property, and people who have a vested interest in the model and mission of Lightbearers, especially in college towns.
Is my donation tax-deductable?
Yes. Lightbearers is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax-deductible. Year-end gift receipts will be postmarked no later than Jan 31st per IRS regulations. If you give a non-cash asset, we are accredited with ECFA and work with the NCF. Donors who have special receipting needs are encouraged to contact us directly to discuss options.
How do I give to a general fund, staff member, specific campus, or mission project?
You can give to any fund or staff member’s support account through check, EFT, or credit/debit card.
Checks should be addressed to Lightbearers Ministries and sent to PO Box 9911, Fayetteville, AR 72703. Please indicate with your gift which fund or staff member you intend to support. Remittance envelopes are available upon request.
You may also give online to any fund or staff member’s support at any time by using a credit/debit card or checking account. Simply go to our giving page to begin!
Can I pause my recurring payment and resume at a later date?
Yes. Contact us to suspend your monthly payment. Gifts that have been suspended may be resumed at any time. Your records are stored securely and we can resume your recurring monthly payment upon your written request if the information has not changed.
How do I cancel my recurring monthly payment?
To modify or cancel your recurring monthly payment, please contact us at 479.442.2300 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I make my gift recurring?
You can give regularly through a credit or debit card by going to our giving page and selecting the fund you want to support (general fund or staff support). Enter the amount you want to give regularly then once you hit “Submit” you can check the box “Create recurring transaction?” You will be given options on the frequency and the date you want to give. We are also able to draft your checking account monthly for any fund or staff member’s support account through an electronic funds transfer (EFT). These transactions are processed on the 1st and 15th (or first business day following in each case). You can choose which date works best. We need only a voided check and a completed EFT card, which we can provide at your request. Click on the “EFT Option” on our giving page to reach out.
Can I give online? Can I give by check? Can I give by credit card?
You may give online with your credit/debit card or through your checking account to any fund or staff member’s support account at any time.
Checks should be addressed and sent to Lightbearers Ministries at PO Box 9911, Fayetteville, AR 72703. Please indicate with your gift which fund or staff member you intend to support. Remittance envelopes are available upon your request.
What kinds of projects do you fund?
We fund project grants for missionaries involved in seeing Gospel-centered churches planted in Asia and northern Africa. These grants range from Bible translation and pastoral training to start-up business expenses for missionaries in closed countries to microfinance projects administered by Great Commission workers. And everything in between!
As we are limited to project grants, we do not fund salaries or other ongoing budget items such as maintenance or utilities.
Why do you only work in Asia and northern Africa?
Jesus came to ransom a people from every tribe, tongue and nation. We feel called organizationally to direct our funding towards those tribes, tongues and nations that currently have the least access to the Gospel and the fewest resources to that end. Most of these areas are in Asia and northern Africa, so we have made the decision to focus on that geography of the world.
Do you know the missionaries that receive your project funding?
Yes! We personally visit each missionary partner at their location and see their work firsthand. We know them, their family and their work.
How do you find new mission partners?
We connect with new partners through existing relationships and recommendations. Then, we visit them to determine whether they would be a good fit for a Lightbearers grant, and if so, we invite them to apply. We look to James 3 as our guide in seeking partners who exhibit wisdom, are peaceable, gentle, full of mercy and of good fruits. We recognize that in some places, simple perseverance itself is good fruit.
Do you work with expats or nationals?
Both. We do require that expats must have been in country for at least 2-3 years so that they have had a chance to learn the language, acclimate as a family for the long haul, and discern the needs of the church and the community.