This is the first of a three-part series on graduating high school seniors. Regardless of whether they are moving on to college, heading to technical school, going into the service, or starting a career, graduating seniors need some things from us as a church, from previous mentors and leaders, and from parents.
This article will discuss “Blessing Them Well.” The next will discuss “Sending Them Well.” The last in the series will address the need for churches in college towns to “Receive Them Well.”
As our high school seniors near graduation, it is both a difficult time and one for celebration in the life of a church. That reality is even more difficult this year with the effects of COVID-19. Many of the traditional “rites of passage” simply don’t exist right now. Graduation services are virtual and seem hollow and shallow. Baccalaureate services aren’t happening. The joys of signing yearbooks with other seniors and leaving their wisdom for each other’s lives just isn’t the same. The last “this” and the final “that” just won’t be happening. Even the church service where graduates are honored may or may not occur. Some churches will be reopened by then; some will not.
Something wondrous happens when we as a church bless our graduating seniors. The graduates feel honored and appreciated. Parents are bursting with pride and holding back tears at the same time. Former Sunday School teachers and small group leaders are remembering their contributions. Former children’s choir leaders are swapping stories of days’ past. Oh, and don’t forget younger brothers and sisters. They are actively making plans to “claim dibs” on the larger bedroom when their sibling moves out.
This is such an important time for the graduating seniors and those in the church who have invested in their lives. Just as we’ve all had to adapt and adjust during the past two months, we need to adapt and adjust how we honor our seniors and bless them well.
Our students’ lives are spent online and on social media. To bless them well this year, we may need to make sure we use these tools ourselves. I’m sure there are many churches using the internet for this, but one in particular has caught my attention.
Every day for the past couple of weeks, Northside Baptist Church in Tifton has been honoring their graduates individually with a Facebook post highlighting their lives and their plans for the fall. I’ve included an example to illustrate. That is a creative way to honor your grads when the traditional church service for that purpose just can’t happen. Here are a few ideas I would add:
This is an unusual year and we will need to think of unusual ways to do ministry. Along the way, we will likely discover some new and even more effective ways to bless our seniors. Doing so will hold great meaning for your graduates, their parents, and all who’ve invested in their lives – from the nursery all the way through to the youth group.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here