Over the next several weeks, our churches will celebrate with high school seniors as they graduate, and many of those graduates will pack to begin their college career. Regrettably, churches too often lose touch with the students they helped raise when they go away to school. Perhaps these ideas will help your church avoid that tendency:
- Commission students as missionaries to their campuses. That’s what they are, actually, even if they’re going to a Christian campus. Challenge them with this responsibility. Send them out officially as your representative, and then purposefully stay in touch with them.
- Establish one person responsible for overseeing this church-student connection ministry. This ministry will take some intentionality and work, so find someone who can take the lead. A couple who can reach out to male and female students would be great.
- Develop a prayer network for graduates. Much as you would for other missionaries, raise up prayer warriors who will intercede weekly for each graduate. Use Facebook, email, or some other approach to keep in touch with the students and learn of their prayer needs.
- Provide a scholarship with accountability. Offer some academic funding for deserving students, but hold them accountable to getting plugged into a strong local church where they attend school. Even a few hundred dollars can help buy some books – and give you permission to check on your graduate.
- Develop small group partnerships with each graduate. The ministry a small group can have in adopting high school graduates is huge. Think about it – offering prayer support, inviting them to join the group via Skype, sending care packages, remembering them on their birthdays, praying for them during exam week, etc.
- Provide financial assistance for computer filters. In my opinion, most young people need a filter that makes it harder to find pornography. When they move away from home, help them fight ungodliness by purchasing them a filter program for one year.
- Provide weekly video updates for college students. Just a 5 or 10-minute online update will keep them informed about your church and give them a little taste of home when they get lonely.
- Do Skype mentoring. Aim for all interested graduates having a mentor who meets with them once a month via Skype or FaceTime. Given the electronic access we have today, we have little excuse not to stay in touch with these young people.
- Assist them in finding a good church in their college setting. They’re more likely to get connected to a local body if they already have some connection before they get there. Introduce them to somebody on the ground in their university setting.
- Plan “homecoming” events during breaks. Don’t wait to find out who’s coming home to plan something. Instead, plan something and invite them to come. Make them want to stay connected with their church.
What would you add to this list?