What is discipleship mentoring?
Discipleship mentoring is an opportunity for students to engage in dialogue about faith and life and to experience consistent encouragement and support from another Christian as they grow together in relationship with Christ.
How does APU’s discipleship mentoring program work?
Based on experiences and interests, students are matched with a mentor. Mentors are faculty, staff, spouses of APU employees, seminary students, peers, and members of local churches who have been through an extensive application and equipping process and have demonstrated deep faith, wisdom, and love for college students. Mentors and students meet regularly over the course of the semester or academic year for prayer, Bible study, other readings, significant conversations, and fellowship.
For more information, email [email protected] or call (626) 815-3855.
Information for Students
Get a Mentor
We are so glad that you are interested in being matched with a spiritual mentor. While we have an amazing group of volunteer mentors, we typically have more applicants than we can match. As you apply and wait for a potential match, we encourage you to join a D-Group and get connected at a local church.
Be a Peer Mentor
Peer mentors are students who have junior or senior class standing with 60 units or more. Peer mentors are matched with a freshman or sophomore, and they meet regularly for Bible study, meaningful conversation, and/or prayer.
For more information about the process, contact us at [email protected] or (626) 815-3855.
Discipleship 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.
Review the following policies and procedures if you are interested in serving as a discipleship mentor at APU:
- Policies and Procedures for Non-APU-Employee Mentors (PDF)
- Policies and Procedures for APU Faculty and Staff
For faculty, staff, and community members who would like to become a mentor, download, print, complete, and submit the appropriate application below to the Office of Service and Discipleship.
All new mentors must have a Mentor Reference Form filled out by someone else on their behalf, recommending them to this ministry. Forward the link to an appropriate person, such as a pastor, church lay leader, professor, spiritual friend, supervisor, or an APU employee.
The Service and Discipleship team 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!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is “discipleship mentoring” at APU?
Discipleship 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 and a place of safety, and to encourage them in faith.
What is the history of discipleship mentoring programs on campus?
Discipleship mentoring is a part of the core mission and ethos of APU, and has been since its inception. Discipleship mentoring happens informally in all kinds of settings, but it is our desire that a more intentional, comprehensive approach to spiritual mentoring enhance the faithful efforts of many faculty, staff, and administrators. APU’s formal discipleship programs previously included Women’s Discipleship Mentoring (Heart to Heart), which began in the late 1980s under the leadership of Gladys Wilson; and Men’s Discipleship Mentoring (Blueprints), which Residence Life staff members started in 2007. Formerly two separate areas, Women’s Discipleship Mentoring and Men’s Discipleship Mentoring are now the Discipleship Mentoring Program. APU also offers Discipleship Groups (D-Groups), which have been in place for more than a decade.
What is the current need for discipleship 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 for students, while a lack of mentors was associated with less spiritual growth. The need is significant for APU’s undergraduate student population: Since 2012, we have had a steady participation rate of approximately 200 female students and 100 male students sign up, with about 50 students who signed up for mentoring but were not matched, due to a shortage of mentors.
Do I have to be an APU staff or faculty member to be a mentor?
No! Our mentors are also 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 in the Apply section above.
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 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 meeting 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 training 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 your time with your student, and what to do if your student is in crisis. To start signing up now, select the appropriate mentor application in the Apply section above. 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 us at [email protected] or fill out the online form for APU CARES to look after the student. An APU Care Team is available to assist students in crisis and get them the appropriate resources. APU offers students services through the University Counseling Center, Student Health Center, Academic Success Center, pastoral counseling services, and Residence Life staff who 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, match 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 1-4 students individually at any given time. Also, as one mentoring relationship ends, we can match you with a new student.
APU Employee FAQs
Do I need to stop the casual discipleship that happens as I naturally interact with students?
Absolutely not! The casual discipleship mentoring and support that happens in myriad 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—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 discipleship mentoring programs. You can contact us at (626) 815-3855 or [email protected].
Should I let the Office of Service and Discipleship 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. Discipleship 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.
Information for Churches
If you are part of a local church and are interested in helping more people from your church get involved in our mentoring programs as mentors, complete the Non-APU-Employee Application and Mentor Reference Form.
We have trained staff members who would love the chance to speak at your church gathering of any size and share ways for people to get involved as a mentor to an APU student. We can also provide promotional brochures. We would love the opportunity to meet and dialogue about how we can partner with you. Contact our mentoring team at [email protected] or call (626) 815-3855. We welcome your input and the opportunity to further God’s Kingdom together.
Testimonies and Photos
Many of the people who have served as mentors love to share their stories. Read about their experiences.