Honoring Your Seniors
by Jake Kircher
With graduation right around the corner, it's an important rite of passage to honor our seniors and send them into their next phase in life with some resources. Here are four ideas for you to consider:
1. Reserve a Sunday morning to have your graduates get up in front of the church and commission them for what is coming next.
All of our students are technically entering the mission field if we really think about it. Even if they are going to a Christian college, they will still be in a new area, making new friends and having new experiences. We should be sending them out knowing that they have a home church that is behind them every step of the way. You can also have fun with this by having parents submit baby pictures to put on the screen along with a senior portrait. It can also be a nice touch to have one or two share their testimony from their time growing up in the church and what calling they think God is having them step into next.
2. Give them a gift.
There are so many different ways you can do this, for all types of budgets:
- Give them a Bible. There are lots of great options here. One we'd like to point out is a brand new resource called The Way by The Youth Cartel which is a NLT Bible designed specifically for 18-30 year olds.
- Check out a graduation bundle from any of these great organizations:
- Or make your own bundle...get each student a laundry bag and then fill it with some college essentials like some ear plugs, Ramen noodles, a devotional, laundry detergent or whatever else you could think of.
3. Set up a plan now to reach out to the students next year.
This can often times be one of the most difficult parts of a students transition. It's really hard to stay up on all our students who have graduated while at the same time pouring ourselves into the students who are still around. One the one hand, remember that it's natural for those relationships to change. You can't do it all!! And that's ok. But, on the other hand you can enlist other people int he church to help maintain that connection.
One idea you can do is find a group of empty-nesters who can help put together the occasional gift boxes of baked goods or candy to your college kids. These work especially well around test times!
Another idea is to have your current students write encouraging notes or cards to send to your college kids.
Really, whatever you do can't go wrong as long as you are loving on those kids and letting them know the church is praying for them and thinking about them while they are away at school.
4. Plan to host a "Preparing Your Students for Life After High School" seminar with your network next year.
In this seminar, Derek Melby of The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding helps youth workers and parents to better understand what their kids will go through in college. Areas of discussion include: developmental issues, college student culture, gap-year, finances and debt, mental health, faith and doubt and other college related issues. The seminar paints a realistic picture of what to expect the college years to be like and offers hope and encouragement.