5 Talking Points To Help Your Students with Post-High School
I know it’s coming and yet somehow each and every year it blindsides me. High School graduation – the day that 12th graders magically go from being students to “real” adults. I find myself sad that our time together has ended. Anxious that I didn’t say or do enough to help them continue in their faith. Grateful for the time and memories we have created.
Let’s face it for 7 years (if you’re lucky) you have poured life out into these kids. Hoping and praying that you did enough to show them Christ and they hold on to it for the rest of their lives. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves with our students. Some of it justified, much of it not, but it’s taxing none the less.
This past May I graduated my first group of students. What I mean when I say this is that this is the first group that I got to walk with from sixth grade through twelfth grade, at the same church. The groups before were special to me too, but this one had a lot more attached to it. Reflecting back on the 7 years that I was able to be their pastor caused me to think on the things that I said and did with them and evaluate what I could or should have done differently.
Ultimately here’s what we know, each student is going to graduate and become an adult and we can try and avoid it, but we are not helping them by doing that. We can and should be intentional about our conversations as we help them prepare for a life, post youth group and post high school.
Here are 5 can’t skip topics to talk with your students about before they graduate.
Growing Their Faith.
I have met very few students that know how to grow in their faith. The topic of growing in our faith can be a sticky one. We sometimes become fearful of turning students away from the faith if we put too many requirements on them. While reading the Bible, praying regularly, and being a part of the church as a whole aren’t what get you into heaven, they are essential to continuing to grow in our faith. And beyond doing these tasks, it can take work to really learn how to do them and to get into the discipline of them. Talking regularly with students about their personal faith growth can be awkward, but it’s essential for them to continue their faith journey into their adult lives.
Their Purpose and Identity.
We all want to be fulfilled, wanted and have a purpose. Our students are at an age that they are trying to figure out what and who God created them to be. If we don’t take time to affirm the God given talents, abilities and passions they have we are missing an opportunity to help them succeed in their future. The world is constantly throwing ideas of what makes them valuable and important to society, but what God has to say about them matters so much more. They are more than their gender, their age, their GPA, and their eventual job. The need to remember they are loved and known by God and we can help instill that in them.
Every single student and young adult you minister to is going to have relationships in their lives. Some of those relationships will be of a sexual nature. Teaching students about healthy relationships is vital to their growth. Helping them understand how to nurture and grow in relationships with others is a game changer. Teaching them to be the friend that they wish they had can and will revolutionize how they view themselves and others. And with the whole sex thing, the truth is there is a high likely hood that a lot of your students have or will have some sort of sexual experience. We must be able to share with them the truth of what God intends and give them grace when they may have not hit the standard.
Talk to most people in their early 30’s and they will tell you their biggest regret is not having more discipline in regards to their finances. For some reason in the church we often teach children what to do with money, then skip over the teen years and then expect them to be generous as adults. I would say the majority of student ministries don’t ever talk to their students about money. More than missing out of future givers, we are missing out on teaching them how to use one of the greatest tools God will ever give them. To ignore talking about money with students we are robbing them of understanding some of the basics of life as an adult.
Sharing Their Faith.
Let’s be honest, the majority of our students will not go in to full-time vocational ministry. In fact almost all of our students will work in a field completely unrelated to their faith. This provides them for a huge opportunity to learn how to share and live out their faith every single day. Not all of us are gifted at how to share our faith, we have conjured up theses ideas of what we need to say or how we need to say it, when sometimes we simply need to learn to live our lives in an authentic way with the people God surrounds us with.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.