Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: Just Months Until Goodbyes Begin

STUDENT MINISTRY: Just Months Until Goodbyes Begin

While we don’t like to think about it, some of our students will be saying goodbye in just a few months. These are students you have invested years in and, in a blink of an eye, they will be moving onto the next phase of their lives. You can tell yourself this is just a part of student ministry, but it still hurts. We love these students, but for them to grow in their spiritual lives, they must take steps forward. So, what do we do to launch them well? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

• Celebrate their graduation. This may seem like an obvious thing, but we can neglect this rite of passage. It is important that we recognize this change in our students’ lives. You can do this in your student ministry group meeting or honor your student during the worship service. Either way, it is a way to signify the change that is happening in your students’ lives.

Now, there is a question that seems to plague us all. Who do we recognize? Some of our students just barely show up. Others are there all the time. My recommendation is to allow the “worship service” recognition to be a time for all who want to participate. Put deadlines in place so you will know how many gifts to prepare and stick to those deadlines. For those that have been more faithful to the church, you may want to provide another opportunity to honor them. This is never an easy choice and may require some discussions with your lead pastor to determine the approach you want to take. Just be sure to not let this opportunity to celebrate with your students slip by.

• Commission them for the next phase of life. Beyond graduation, it is important that you commission your students for the next phase of life. If they are going off to college, your students should understand that their job is to carry Christ with them. You can have this as a part of your graduation service or leave to closer to the coming school year. At minimum, pray over them. You might consider providing them with a book. Surviving Religion 101 by Michael Kruger is a great book to hand to your students as they head off to college. You could give them a Bible. You could put together a notebook of encouraging messages from your church members they can lean on when it gets hard. Whether they are leaving town, going to school locally or simply taking a job, it is important to encourage them to be missionaries in their new settings.

• Help them connect to spiritual mentors for the next phase of their lives. This can be done in a couple of ways. If your student is staying at home instead of heading off to college, work to find another adult that could serve as a mentor as they step through their young adult years as a believer. If they are moving off, you have a couple of choices. You can get in touch with college ministries like the Association of Baptist Students and let them know about your student’s move to campus. Even better is if you can take a trip with your student and introduce them. The other thing you can do is research the churches in your student’s destination and provide them with some suggestions. Too often, we just say, “Good luck!” We don’t need to hold their hand in this transition but providing them with options will help them make some choices they may not even be aware of.

Graduation season will soon be upon us. It can be difficult to say goodbye to those we have spent the most time with, but it has to happen. Pray about how you can help them launch well. Be supportive and pray for your students as they go through this transition.

If you have suggestions or examples of how you honor your students, join us in our Facebook group to share those things. You can find us at Facebook.com/groups/StudentMinistryMattersCommunity.

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