It is that time of year again when our loyal seniors make the leap from high school into college, and we — along with parents — hope that all we have taught them over the past several years will stick with them throughout some of the most difficult and tempting years of their lives. So how can you make the transition from youth group to college as smooth as possible?

Help with the Transition to College Ministry

If your students will be attending a local community college or going straight into the workforce, try helping them connect with the college ministry leader at your church. Throw a college/senior social to help students get to know some of the college kids at your church. If your kids will be moving away, try helping them connect with a college ministry near their new college campuses.

Equip Your Students with Christian Resources for College

Chances are, you or your church performs some type of senior recognition at the end of each school year (If not, try organizing one this year). Instead of giving them a certificate or a shiny new Bible, try providing your seniors with books that are designed to help them through the difficult circumstances they may face in college. We suggest “Make College Count” although you may find other resources at your local bookstore or on Amazon. To make it personal, write a personal note of encouragement to each student to be placed on the inside cover of the book. You never know when those kind words could be just what your students need when they are in a dorm room far away from home.

Help Your Students Find Their Identities

The college years are a time of soul searching for all students. Your teenagers will begin to search within themselves for answers to life’s most important questions. They may begin searching for purpose, or may even begin questioning why they believe what they believe. This is a normal part of growing up, but you can help guide them in the right direction by encouraging your teenagers to begin determining who they really are before they exit your youth ministry. Give students your personal phone number to reach you or another youth leader any time with questions or for prayer — even after they have left your ministry.

Conclusion

Ultimately, every teenager in your youth ministry will embark on an independent journey in life. Although we wish the best, we know that everyone makes mistakes. Above all, be loving and patient with previous students throughout their college years. The Bible promises that “He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it!”

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Filed under: Leaders OnlyStarting a Youth MinistryYouth Discipleship and GrowthYouth Ministry Resources

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