After High School…The Mission Continues. Guest Blogger Seth Greenham
By Seth Greenham
In every ministry there is a transition that happens as your kids, youth, young adults, young marrieds, married with children, seniors move to the next stage. These transitions remind us that our work as youth ministers although for a season, really is part of God’s lifetime work in people’s lives.
Most of us when we are ministering to youth on a Friday night are too busy to see that our goal as youth ministers isn’t just to have an impactful event, but actually to help produce a mature follower of Jesus who will have a lifelong fruitful ministry into their 80’s.
Historically, it is in the transitions where our young disciples can get sidetracked, and no transition is this more likely than in the post-high school years. As a campus pastor at Simon Fraser University for the last 16 years I have seen this first hand. Whether a student is leaving your church for post-secondary education or staying close to home for school or work. The exposure to new friends, new ideas, and new habits is a tricky time for maturing faith. I want to suggest a few things that you as a youth worker can do to help your youth to transition into young adulthood with a maturing faith.
1. Start early. In my experience most youth if they are not a part of your central leadership start to drift from your community beginning in the summer of Grade 11 on through Graduation. Thinking of specific teaching and experiences that target students in grade 11 and 12 can really help with their maturity.
2. Keep in touch. A weekly touch point for the first 6 weeks can go a long way to helping your youth. These first weeks everything is new. It is helpful for someone other than parents to remind youth where they came from and what they value.
3. Pray for them. God and his Spirit are present with the youth in this transition, even when you can’t be. Set aside a time to pray for your Youth in transition to Young Adults. Let them know you are praying for them, and ask for prayer request during your weekly touch point.
4. Encourage a continuing mission. For many of us we teach youth that high school is their mission field. As your youth graduate they can lose a sense of mission as their context changes. Whether they are headed to post-secondary education or staying local to work we need to continue to encourage them to be on mission in their new context. Asking who God might be putting on their heart to reach out to in their new context, and praying with them in that will help with continuing the mission.
5. Introduce them to a campus pastor or young adult leader. Specifically, if your youth are moving away to post-secondary, as best you can try and have a lunch or coffee with you the campus pastor and your youth. For those of you in remote areas a skype call will have to suffice. This simple step helps break down the barrier of meeting a new community. If you are more local join your youth at the campus for a campus ministry event to help ease the transition. This strategy holds true if they are moving on to a young adult ministry in your church.