Mentor Groups


What is a Mentorship Group?
Mentorship groups are eight to ten students (starting at grade 5) who meet 3-4 times a month with a mentor leader. They are long-term relationships where students can form bonds together with other youth the same age and gender, as well as with a mentor leader. They meet primarily from 5-6:30pm on Wednesday evenings before Riverside Students begins.They include meals (provided by parents), fun, Bible study, relationship building, and more.

What is the purpose of a Mentorship Group?
We want to provide youth with a safe, grace-filled environment to learn about God and life.As students first begin middle school, a place to belong with spiritual encouragement is critical. They may already have friends, but they often don’t talk about spiritual things. Students in these groups not only have a fun, but develop great friendships that are built on common faith in Jesus. Friends who can help them when they face peer pressure and so much more.

How long do Mentorship Groups meet?
Mentoring isn't a sprint - it's an intentional run in the same direction together. Although no one knows what may happen in the next year(s) of their lives, our hope is that the mentorship group lasts as long as possible with the same students and leader. This gives mentors an incredible opportunity to be there for students as a friend, sounding board and guide. A Mentor group will typically start with kids in grade 5 (in January) and our hope is that groups will stay together through the end of 7th grade. After 7th grade, we've found most students' schedules are filled with extra activities and meeting for an extended time on Wednesday's before Riverside Students begins is a harder commitment to make. To continue the student's connection with their mentor leader, the mentor leader would transition to a small group leader role on Wednesday nights when kids are in 8th grade (and beyond) so students can still be connected with that same leader through their high school years, if possible. 

What is an extended time?
Some groups will meet occasionally for a time that is not the “usual” 5-6:30pm on a Wednesday evening. It might be for a Christmas party or a special outing during the summer to play paintball or pack meals together.They may involve taking part in a Riverside Students event or special night. Mentoring is all about developing relationships with each other, and often the trust formed during extended times together strengthens a group’s unity.

What do the groups do when they are together?

Building relationships is foundational, so having lots of fun together is important. They’ll also catch up on life while sharing a meal, pray for each other, talk about dealing with everyday issues and challenges from a godly perspective, and serve together in a variety of ways. 

What specific areas will my student be challenged/taught in?
Some areas include: Bible reading, life, prayer, language, attitudes, respect, choices, friendships, and so much more!

What should I know when deciding if this works for my student?
As a parent, choosing mentorship groups for your student means you are choosing to make faith development and spiritual relationships a primary focus. In order to be in a mentorship group a family needs to understand that it must be a priority. Sports and other things can be worked around occasionally, but your student needs to be at mentorship group most of the time for the relationships to be deep enough to have an impact.

We also want to be clear that mentorship groups are NOT a replacement for other Wednesday night programming, but is intended to enhance their experience in Riverside Students.As a family considering this opportunity, we trust you see the "all in"investment Riverside Church wants to make with your son/daughter. We're likewise asking you to be "all in" with Riverside Church. We aren't offering this to the general public or to people who attend other churches, but specifically to serve the students and parents (like you) whom we've come to know and respect. Please regularly be a part of Riverside Church and support your family by taking part in its ministries (Riverside Kids, Riverside Students, Small Groups, etc.). In this way we can walk with your family and make the most of these years (and beyond) together.

How are Mentors "vetted"?
Mentors have completed background checks as well as served in some capacity with youth/children at Riverside Church. This allows us to know them personally before we take steps to put them in the role of a mentor.

Will there be a cost?
Most mentorship groups meet with little cost. We encourage families of students participating to provide food (if possible) on a rotation to share the investment in this group. Occasional outings or food may require some cost as well. About $10-$15 would be an approximate cost for those types of activities.

What do parents say about the group?

"Not quite sure how to put into words the change I have seen our son go through as he has developed these awesome Godly friendships through his boys group.  ...spending time together each week, the growth in prayer for others and the accountability for his choices has been truly transforming.  It has not only blessed him in many ways, but it is a blessing to our family as well.  Thanks is just not enough."

"It's awesome!  I really hope more kids have the opportunity to have a godly man or woman mentor them. I don't think anything we could have done as parents could have brought him into this relationship he now has with God and a group of God-seeking friends."

"The small group that [my son]is apart of has become like a family for him.  He is able to share secrets, struggles and accomplishments with his friends.  He knows that it is a safe place for him to be himself and is comfortable getting advice from his friends."

"We also enjoy all the great activities that he gets to experience.  By having fun, he is actually growing closer in his relationship with God.  This group has encouraged him to read his bible more and to really look into God's word when he is facing difficult choices."

"I was so impressed to hear that the group was being challenged in making good choices with their media time, movies, music, etc. I am so thankful for the small group, it's been a huge blessing in [our son's] life!"

"[our son] loves going to the small group. He looks forward to the time.  We see a spiritual awareness within him through day to day conversations. He has made good friends with the boys as well.  And we believe this makes his walk with Jesus more personal and real being able to share his faith with his peers at a level that most adults are unable to understand.  We and [our son] think this is Great! Oh and I forgot to mention a lot of fun too!"