Sometime in the last week or so, youth workers across the country have processed through one of the bigger events on their ministry calendars. Senior graduation. For some of you, it’s happening this week. Graduation is a whirlwind time that can hold a variety of different emotions all at once:
Stress caused by additional responsibilities at an already busy time of year.
Happiness and pride for the life transition students are entering into.
Sadness that this new stage for students means a change in your relationship, and so on …
So, graduation is an important time. But it’s most important for the possibilities that exist for evaluating your ministry. What do I mean? Glad you asked …
Your graduating seniors may represent a chance to evaluate your youth ministry strategy.
While it’s by no means cut and dry, by looking at your seniors, you might just get a glimpse into what students look like having come through your youth ministry. It could be an invaluable way of thinking about your strategy and approach. Here’s what I mean …
Think about your graduates. Think about them as a group and as individuals. As a group, what values do you see them holding that you worked to instill? Are they passionate about the poor and needy? Are they serious about leadership? Are they committed to evangelism? If they have held on to these values, it’s affirmation that you are doing an effective job of teaching, modeling and placing an important emphasis, and/or that you are partnering with their parents to keep these themes present in their lives.
As individuals, do you see the effects of your disciple-making strategy? Do they have a passion for God’s Word? Do they live out their faith visibly? Do they value service? Do they openly talk about their faith? If you can look at your individual students and see signs of the faith development that you and their parents have lead them to develop, then you can have a measure of confidence that your Spirit-led efforts to lead students in discipleship are on the right track.
But what if you look at your graduates and don’t see a group of students who share some or most of your values? What if you don’t see individuals who have grown in their faith?