One of the areas of youth/student ministry that I strongly believe is lacking in American churches is the transition to college. We do a good job of meeting teenagers while they are in middle school and high school, but often, we do very little after graduation. After reading The Slow Fade last year, it has been on my mind that we need to push the “finish line” back a few years. So, as we continue in this journey of making this a better transition at our church, I thought it would be good to bring you along — just in case you want to learn from our experience… or mistakes.
I believe our goal is to help students not graduate from their faith when they graduate from high school. We need to do more to make sure they continue in their discipleship, and we need to help them stay connected with God’s church.
For starters, I thought I would share what we currently do at RCC to help this transition…
- One of our parents meet with high school students in the fall to discuss plans and help parents navigate the college application process.
- We invite the high school seniors over to our house at least once or twice during the school year to talk candidly about their college plans. We discuss what schools they are looking at and begin to help them develop some churches/ministries around each school.
- We try to stay connected with our college students by phone calls, Facebook, and care packages throughout the school year.
- When they are back for summer and holiday breaks, we try to have at least one event to get them together, share stories, and catch up.
It is our goal that these things will help our college students stay connected when they go away, instead of feeling like they no longer belong to the church. We also want to do our best to partner with parents, as this can be a difficult transition period.
Can we do more? Sure we can! In fact, we have some other plans to put into place very soon. However, that is for another blog at a later time.
For now, my question to you is: What do you have in place already to help your high school students make the transition?