After I was accepted into PHC, my admissions counselor directed me to Dr. Stephen Hake, the literature professor. Hake had recently begun offering students the opportunity to be mentored by PHC staff, faculty, families, and HSLDA staff. When I reached out, he immediately offered to meet with me the next day on Zoom. I set up my laptop in my room where I talked with him for over two hours. He was in his office, sitting in his old, green recliner. Behind him, rows upon rows of books lined the bookshelves. His inquiry was simple: “Tell me your story.”
At the end of our time, he pulled out an index card, wrote my name on it, and asked how he could pray for me. I had been at PHC long enough to know that the index card would be added to his stack of prayer requests he pulls out during his daily prayer walk around campus.
Hake’s heart for discipleship began a couple years ago. “I realized quite late in life … that I had never been discipled,” Hake said. To fill this need, he approached two men from PHC and asked them to disciple him. This realization ultimately gave him a heart for reaching out PHC students—especially freshman. “I was a very messed up, very lost freshman in college. God was deeply at work in my life and convicting me of sin,” Hake recalled. “I was a wreck, but there was nobody to explain that to me, nobody to walk with me through that.” Thus, every fall semester, he meets with each freshman, like he did with me, to learn their life story and, if they want, connect them with a mentor.
Hake believes this calling is a fundamentally important human activity. “If [you] have a pulse, you need discipleship!” Hake said.
For Hake, the goal is to become more like Christ. “Jesus said no disciple is greater than his master, but when he is fully taught, he becomes like his master,” he said. Hake went on to point out that Jesus gave His disciples the responsibility and opportunity to help others to become more like Him-- a continuance of what He began during his earthly ministry.
At PHC, Hake hopes that this discipleship opportunity continues to grow and mature. “It’s a labor of love. It’s a big gift for someone to give. … I think it can only be in a sense organic. There’s not one curriculum.” But that is what makes it so beautiful. Hake remembered how one mentor taught a PHC student how to drive and later gave her a place to live when she needed one.
Hake said that if we are being true Christian friends, we should be concerned with whether or not our friends are growing in Christ. “The only thing that’s more meaningful than just becoming like Christ is to help others become more like Christ.”