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Mentoring Programs

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Spiritual mentors are a tremendous encouragement and support to our undergraduate students as they seek to follow Jesus and grow in faith during their college years. In order to ensure rich mentorship experiences for our students, it is important that all of our mentors are committed to growth in faith and discipleship in Jesus Christ year after year.

Policies and procedures for community members who are not APU employees are available below. Policies and procedures for faculty and staff are located on the Spiritual Mentoring Program page on the Office of Human Resources website.

For faculty, staff, and community members who would like to become a mentor, please download, print, complete, and submit the appropriate application below to the Office of the Campus Pastors.

The Office of the Campus Pastors is available to support you as you provide spiritual mentorship for your undergraduate student. We will contact you periodically throughout the semester to follow up with you, and we will provide occasional gatherings for mentors. You are free to contact us at any time if there is anything we can do to support you as you mentor your APU student.

Check out our website for key dates and forms that may be helpful to you as you explore interest in mentoring an APU student. Thank you for your desire to equip the next generation of disciples!

Spiritual Mentoring Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What is “spiritual mentoring” at APU?

Spiritual mentoring encourages students to share life together in intentional, Christ-centered, discipleship-focused relationships. Mature Christ-followers assist students in becoming fully devoted followers of Christ through regular, spiritually-focused conversations. When we use the term ‘discipleship,’ we do so with the intention of developing disciples of Jesus, young women and men who follow Jesus in the present age, who participate in the grand movement of the Kingdom of God. The goal of these mentorship relationships is spiritual growth, discipleship, and nurturing of undergraduate students. We ask that your time with your student be centered on their spiritual formation. You may choose to use the time for Bible study, prayer, or conversation about topics of faith, but we ask that you keep this goal as your central focus. We do not expect you to be your student’s counselor, parent, or spiritual authority. We desire for you to be a loving presence in the life of your student, to help them identify God’s presence in their circumstances, to provide a listening ear, a place of safety, and to encourage them in faith.

How do the mentoring programs at APU work?

Based on experiences and interests, students will be matched with a mentor. Mentors are faculty, staff, spouses of APU employees, seminary students, and members of local churches who have been through an application and equipping process, and have demonstrated strong faith, wisdom, and love for college students. Mentors and students meet together once a week or twice a month over the course of the academic school year for prayer, Bible study, other readings, significant conversations, and fellowship.

What is the history of spiritual mentoring programs on campus?

Spiritual mentoring is a part of the core mission and ethos of APU, and has been since its inception. Spiritual mentoring happens informally in all kinds of settings, and it is our desire that a more intentional, comprehensive approach to spiritual mentoring will enhance the faithful efforts of many faculty, staff, and administrators. APU’s formal mentoring programs include Heart-to-Heart Women’s Mentoring, the oldest formal program celebrating more than 25 years of ministry, and Discipleship groups (D-groups), which have been in place for more than a decade. Residence Life staff members started the Blueprints Men’s Mentoring program in 2007.

What is the current need for spiritual mentoring of undergraduate students on campus?

Students report a need to be known on a personal, individual level; to have someone know their name, hear their story, and help them recognize where God is at work. In a study of Council of Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) institutions, including APU, the Faithful Change Project (2003) on spiritual development indicated that “mentoring relationships with persons of mature faith” were among the experiences in college that led to the greatest spiritual growth, while a lack of mentors was associated with less spiritual growth. The need is significant for APU’s more than 5,600 undergraduate students. In the 2012-13 school year, more than 200 female students and more than 100 male students were matched in formal mentoring relationships, but a waiting list of 100 more students who signed up for mentoring were unable to be matched due to a shortage of mentors.

Specific Details FAQs

Do I have to be an APU staff or faculty member to be a mentor?

No! Our mentors are graduate students, alumni, and local community members, as well as APU staff and faculty. Mentors typically live or work in the Azusa, Glendora, Covina, Arcadia, Monrovia, and La Verne areas.

Do I have to be a Christian to be a mentor?

Yes. As a part of the mentor application, we ask all mentors to sign the APU statement of faith. We welcome mentors from diverse Christian traditions and denominations. The APU statement of faith is a download attached to the application. You can view it by selecting one of the mentor applications at the top of this page.

What are the qualifications to be a mentor?

Mentors should have a strong faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to serve, listen to, and guide a young Christian man or woman. We seek mentors from a variety of diverse experiences, personalities, ethnicities, denominations, and ages. Mentors are not expected to be the student's counselor, parent, Bible scholar or spiritual authority. Simply sharing your own experience and story with your student can help encourage, instruct and provide meaning for them and their spiritual journey.

What is the time commitment as a mentor?

We ask mentors to commit to meet with their student once a week for the academic school year (October–April) for 60–90 minutes at a time.

What is the process to become a mentor?

Prospective mentors need to fill out an online application, sign the APU statement of faith, submit a reference, and attend a training meeting. We have large group trainings in the fall, but we can also accommodate your schedule and set up one-on-one training throughout the year. Training includes: how to set up appropriate expectations and boundaries for your mentoring relationships, how to spiritually-focus time with your student, and what to do if your student is in crisis. To start signing up now, select the appropriate mentor application at the top of this page. Once your paperwork has come in and you have been trained, we will match you with a student and you can begin right away. We match students year round.

What do I do if my student is in crisis or if I am having a problem with my student?

Contact Jeanine Smith jksmith@apu.edu or Jason LeShana jlleshana@apu.edu at (626) 815-3874. An APU Care Team is available to assist students in crisis and get them the appropriate resources. APU offers students’ services through the university’s Counseling Center, Student Health Center, Academic Advising and Retention, pastoral counseling services, and Residence Life staff that regularly assist students.

Occasionally, mentoring relationships need to end before the academic school year is over and we would like to help you through that process and, if you desire, rematch you with a new student to be blessed by you.

Can I mentor more than one student?

Yes! In fact, we welcome it. Mentors typically mentor between one and four students individually at any given time. Also, as one mentoring relationship ends, we can rematch you with a new student.

APU Employee FAQs

Do I need to stop the informal spiritual mentoring that happens as I naturally interact with students?

Absolutely not! The informal spiritual mentoring and support that happens in a myriad of contexts on campus is what makes our APU community so special. We do ask that faculty be mindful of the power that they may have over a particular student in their class and ask that staff be mindful of the power that they have over a student worker under their supervision. Please exercise Christian wisdom and seek discernment in these relationships. If your informal mentoring relationship with an undergraduate student becomes more formalized, we would love for you to let us know so that we can ensure that you receive the same great resources and encouragement as the students and mentors in our Heart-to-Heart and Blueprints mentoring programs. You can contact us at (626) 815-3874 or by email at womensmentoring@apu.edu or mensmentoring@apu.edu.

Should I let the Office for Discipleship Ministries know if I have been meeting with a student?

Yes! We would love to know about your ministry to students and invite you into pooling resources and wisdom. Spiritual mentoring relationships often happen organically in a variety of contexts on campus. Operating under the umbrella of a formal process ensures best practices and protects staff and faculty from a liability perspective. As we create a personalized web of care for students, we like to know who else the student is connected to as safe places of support so that we can all coordinate pastoral care together—particularly when students are in crisis.