4 dedicated disciplers lead the charge for mentorship at PHC

Posted by Kaitlyn Kiepert on 3/28/24 8:50 AM

The importance of discipleship and mentorship at PHC

Dr. Steve Hake, Sara Pensgard, Chuck Hurst, and Leah Garber share two simple yet significant traits: their love for the Lord and their heart for PHC students. This group comprises the Disciple-Making Fellowship Steering Committee—but the real Disciple-Making Fellowship (DMF) is comprised of all the many staff and faculty who volunteer to mentor. The DMF Steering Committee has recently prompted student-wide emails and chapel announcements pushing students to find a mentor at PHC.

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“Nobody gets paid to do it. Nobody gets academic credit. It’s not a program. It’s a gift—a big gift—but it’s a gift that a lot of people are very happy to give,” Dr. Hake said. He longs to see students grow deeper in their relationship with the Lord and believes mentorship is vital for this process.

Discipleship has a special place in Dr. Hake’s heart. His emphasis on it originated a little over a decade ago when he asked himself a simple question: “What do I want to pull to the front of the line that is too important to not experience before I die?” The answer was mentorship.

At 60 years old, Dr. Hake realized that he had never been mentored, so he found two godly men to regularly disciple him. These fruitful relationships prompted him to push PHC students to find mentors. He contacted HSLDA employees and PHC faculty and staff to compile a list of individuals interested in discipling students. The response was remarkable. “We’ve always had plenty of ‘Pauls’ for our ‘Timothys’—both genders,” Dr. Hake said.

The gift of mentorship at PHC

But do we have “Timothys” for our “Pauls”? Many students shy away from mentorship, despite its clear benefits. When freshman Connor Appelboom first received Dr. Hake’s student-wide email encouraging mentorship, he was skeptical. “I thought to myself ‘How am I going to have time to do anything like that?’” he said.

After several weeks under the discipleship of a PHC faculty member, however, he realized just how wrong he was. His time could not be better invested. “It has been helpful to know that there is someone who wants to talk to me—who wants to hear about my life. And there’s a fixed time for doing that,” he said. Other students have reaped similar rewards from Dr. Hake’s push for discipleship, despite their initial hesitations.

During Olivia Green’s first semester on campus, Dr. Hake encouraged her to find a mentor. She was initially reluctant. “I’m a more reserved person and didn’t feel like going and spilling my guts to a mentor,” she said. In a step of faith, Green asked a woman who worked at PHC and attended her church to be her mentor.

How PHC students are involved in their local churches

Four years later, this relationship has blessed Green in more ways than she ever could have imagined. Green feels like another member of her mentor’s family and is living with them as she finishes her senior year at PHC. Looking back on her discipleship journey, Green’s hope is that more students would find mentors to lean on and learn from as she did.

“It's not just to have someone to go to when everything crashes and burns or to have someone to go to when you’re making a big, exciting decision,” she said, “it’s someone you can watch as they’re walking with the Lord.”

Dr. Hake’s commitment to discipleship captures his hope for the future of PHC. “I would love to be part of something quietly multiplying in the last years of my life,” he said.

Reposted with permission from The Herald.

PHC Christian Community


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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