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Our aim in the Lightbearers Discipleship Communities is to connect students with Jesus, His people and His plan for the ends of the earth. Mentoring is an important ingredient in this process as the mentoring relationship provides a caring relationship but also a vision and a challenge. Our students can see the way faith plays out outside of a college context, and men and women further down the road in following Jesus can give strategic counsel, encouragement and rebuke to students during a pivotal year in their lives. Finally, our hope is that a mentorship relationship effectively connects a student to a local church, thus serving as the vehicle for the local church to disciple its younger members and as an “on ramp” for the student to become an active member of a church.

Time Commitment

We expect you to spend time with your student every 1-2 weeks. Outside of this regular time, one of our staffers will communicate with you regarding their interaction with you throughout the year to provide coaching and receive feedback. In addition, feel free to visit the Lightbearers Institute, come to a student event or two, or even drop by the office. We’d love to see you!

How do I get started?

Students enter the Lightbearers Discipleship Community at widely varying levels of maturity. Some students are excited about the prospect of meeting with a mentor while others enter a bit nervous and very quiet, having never done something like this before. We ask all mentors to begin their year with student by doing two things:

1. Studying a Lightbearers Bible study; and

2. Inviting the student to meet your family (as appropriate).

Beginning with a study of Scripture emphasizes the value of Scripture while also building a relationship on a common experience so you can begin to determine whether the student truly knows the Gospel and how to best move forward in mentoring. We’ll be in touch with you along the way! Alternatively, if you have a standard discipleship plan in place that you want to take your student through, please let us know.

In addition, we ask you to have the student meet your family (if you have family at home). It is valuable for them to see you “in real life,” and watch you interact with friends and family. Accomplishing these tasks will take you a couple of months, and we’ll be in touch with where to take the relationship from there.

What should we talk about?

The Gospel touches every area of life, so you can talk about any area, but focus on the things that would bring the student to maturity in Christ. In that vein, we’d ask you to at least check in with your student on things that often slip for college students:

  • Relationship with roommates, family, girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Ability and commitment to sharing their faith
  • Spiritual disciplines (Bible study, prayer, confession of sin, giving, service, etc.)
  • Ability to apply Scripture and keep in step with the Spirit
  • Victory in defeating sin and growth in the fruit of the Spirit
  • Biblical manhood (fighting passivity in life and lust) and womanhood (striving for contentment)

Keep in mind that we are after their hearts, not their actions, but the heart often does have fruit that we can see, so look for that. If you sense that a student is not a believer, state the Gospel clearly and appropriately. As appropriate, exhort them with the Gospel and confront them if they are in sin. The two great commandments are to love God and to love people, so see how they’re doing in those two areas. Ask lots of questions and do a great job of listening.

What should time with my student look like?

Aim for a combination of serious, directed conversation and “as you go” discipleship. Accordingly, some of your time should be spent on clear, intentional spiritually-influenced conversation. Here are some ideas:

  • Scripture (structured study and/or memorization)
  • The Lightbearers Institute (we can get you class notes if you’re interested)
  • Reading a book together (we have lots of ideas!)
  • Spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, giving, etc.)
  • Future goals, plans and accountability to those goals

We also have some assessments that you can use to help you determine where to focus your efforts with your students. We’ve designed this relationship to be organic, so identify the student’s needs and strengthen them there. In general, however, we’ve found it’s easier to start with structure and then vary the structure with spontaneity.

In addition, however, engage them in your life. Let them see what real life looks like for a believer. You may be surprised how powerful the conversation can be when you are doing things together like:

  • Fun activities—football game, gardening, running, concert, out to eat
  • Church involvement—worship on Sunday together
  • Time with your family
  • Normal activities—yard work, grocery shop, errands
  • Practical skills—budgeting, time management, studying for a test
  • Prayer walk
  • Pour into someone else together (e.g. build a friendship with a non-Christian) 

Finally, involve the student as you serve in your church and community. This models service as a way of life, puts the student’s focus on the advance of the Kingdom and allows for great discipleship conversation.

Should I be a friend or an authority?

Ideally, you’re a bit of both, so be a friendly authority. Avoid over-relating as well as staying aloof. Care about the student enough to enter into their world but recognize that they need someone who can give them perspective from outside of their situation.

How do I respond when a student shares something that seems to require counseling and confidentiality?

Many of our students battle thoughts, habits, and sins where professional counseling can be of great help, and they may share these battles with you. If they do, be thankful that they trust you enough to share honestly with you, but do not feel pressure to know all the answers. A good rule of thumb is, “If you feel over your head, you probably are.” To that end, please let us know if you feel “over your head” and we will come alongside you to best care for the student.

Please bring us into these conversations. We often tell students that we will communicate with their mentor regarding their personal and spiritual well-being. The Gospel assures us that our God is a God of hope, so have hope and pray fervently with and for your student. Allow us to join you in hope and prayer.

How do I best study a Lightbearers Bible study with my student?

We have two types of studies available–studies on specific books of the Bible (Ruth, Jonah and Colossians) and studies on how to study the Bible.

The Ruth, Jonah and Colossians studies are available on this website and in print. The video on the sidebar clarifies that the Bible studies allow for a student to: 1) Read the text for themselves; 2) Talk with you about it; and 3) Read a commentary on it.

There are a variety of other helpful resources that can help you understand these Scriptures and help students learn as well. The websites and are two excellent places to do some research.

Lightbearers studies on “How to Study the Bible” are available in print only and are designed to help students learn to study Scripture on their own. Please contact us for those studies.

What if I need help during the year?

Let us help you! We want to be behind the scenes supporting facilitating your mentoring relationship, so please let us know if there is anything you need that would make your time with your student more effective. If you have questions about Lightbearers, want ideas for topics to discuss with students, have concerns about your student that you want to share, please reach out to a Lightbearers staff.

Thank you so much for your investment in the life of a student. We trust that the Lord will bless you for investing your energy in his work of disciple making. Please let us know if you have any questions.

If I forget everything else, what should I remember?

We don’t want to overwhelm you with information, but want to make the mentoring relationship as smooth and as significant as possible. To that end, we would simply urge you to keep four things in mind:

  • Act intentionally
  • Speak Biblically
  • Aim holistically
  • Care deeply

We think that those four things display faithful ministry to a student, and if we can be faithful to water, the Lord will take care of the growth.

Thank you so much for your investment in the life of a student. We trust that the Lord will bless you for investing your energy in his work of disciple making. Please let us know if you have any questions.