It is tempting for parents to try stowing away with their child en route to college. But a better plan is to trust that God will provide the personal resources of strength and courage for a young person to meet the inevitable challenges of stepping over an important threshold to adult life.
At a Christian college or university, students have prime opportunities to encounter professors who are able and want to be mentors, friends, or counselors. By living out their commitment to Christ, these professors show forth caring and compassion that inspire students to also live as Christ's disciples. Students in such an environment become aware that God is at work in the midst of their educational experiences, and that awareness helps them discern God's will for their lives as they enter adulthood.
The following profiles attest to how Christian educators are building on the foundation of godly influence laid earlier in students' lives. Guided by their faith perspective and a strong sense of mission, they teach and lead with an effectiveness that speaks of God's interest in their students' lives.
Leading by Listening
By being transparent to students, these educators allow students to open up and see themselves as learners and leaders.
Bev Wiens, Ph.D., chair of psychology department, William Jessup University, Rocklin, California.
Bev Wiens believes a program that challenges participants to personal wholeness demands that faculty commit to interacting with students outside class time. To strengthen that commitment, Wiens models transparency by discussing her weaknesses and strengths, and her confusions and certainties about God's relationship with humanity. Her honesty creates a safe atmosphere for students to examine themselves in light of what they are learning. Wiens finds that simply conversing with students as they apply their learning produces great fruit. Time with them means affirming their worth. And there is no doubt that some of her meetings have been divine appointmentscallings from God to work he wants to do in students' lives. He simply asks Wiens to be present as the Holy Spirit guides a student into greater wholeness in Christ.
Monte Cox, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Bible and Religion, Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas.
Monte Cox and his family served as missionaries in Kenya from 1982 to 1992, when Cox came to Harding. "I left a receptive mission field and productive ministry in Africa for what proved to be another receptive field and productive ministry [at Harding]." Cox has constant interaction with students. "My job is a ministry in so many ways," he says. "Most importantly, I model Christ's likeness in the way I teach
I try to be very honest and transparent with students." For 15 years, Cox and his wife have hosted mentoring groups in their home for students who are campus leaders. "We want to mentor leaders who are mentors to others," says Cox. "We are doing this intentionally with a ripple effect in mind."
Dottie Myatt, professor of education, assistant dean for teacher education, College of Education and Human Studies, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.
In Klemata, a Union University women's ministry named for the Greek word for branches, female students participate in Bible studies led by a young woman in her junior or senior year. Klemata started with Dottie Myatt pairing each Bible study leader with an older woman, based on Paul's model in Titus 2:35. As a mentor herself, Myatt says, "I would set aside time once a week and they would come to my office." Myatt would ask the leader what she was learning and how God was working in her life. "It was so encouraging to see these wonderful women and the maturity they had," Myatt says. "It is such a ministry, giving them the support spiritually and relationally they need during college."
The Classroom beyond the Classroom
These educators' gifts of time and energy beyond classroom teaching allow students to develop their skills and confidently share their own gifts.