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Faith Encouragement

Connecting with Students after High School

CTA - Christ to All /May. 04, 2022
Connecting with Students after High School

By Bethany Pitman   

When students graduate from high school, many have a new-found freedom to decide whether or not they will stay active in their faith life. While many graduating students will go on to college, many will choose to pursue other avenues such as the military, a gap year, a technical program, or a trade program; others will enter the workforce. Sometimes students who choose not to go to college fall through the cracks. Below are some ideas to help churches stay connected with new high school graduates.   

Students Going to College or Trade School:  

  • The summer after graduation is an excellent time to connect high school grads with current college students. You could host a pizza night and invite current college students to come and connect with the new graduates. They can answer questions and provide real-life feedback about what college is actually like as well as ways they stay active in their faith while at school.  
  • Connect each high school student with a young-adult mentor. Someone who has recently graduated college would be able to connect well as they are close enough to the experience to remember it but far enough away to offer wisdom.  
  • If possible, ask your youth director to reach out to each college student once a quarter, whether that is a phone call, an email, or a note in their mail.  
  • Send care packages once a semester or once a quarter. Care packages before midterms or finals are meaningful to college students.  
  • Provide each student with a list of churches in their area within a five-mile radius of their school.   
  • Consider following the new grads on social media so you can stay engaged with their lives and what they are doing.   

Students Taking a Gap Year or Entering the Workforce  

  • Find out where the student plans to live and where (s)he will be working.  
  • If possible, ask your youth director to reach out to each graduate once a quarter, whether that is a phone call, an email, or a note in their mail.  
  • If the graduate will stay in the area, personally invite each one to be active in a committee or program that will utilize his or her strengths and keep him or her connected to the church.  
  • Working young adults still appreciate care packages that let them know their home church is thinking of them.  
  • If the graduate is moving, provide a list of churches in the new area.  
  • Take note of the new graduates’ achievements out in the real world, whether it is moving into a first apartment, getting promoted, or getting a job.    

Students Serving in the Military  

  • Connect the new grads with other military people who can help them navigate what the upcoming months will look like.  
  • Connect each new graduate with a mentor who has military experience. Encourage the mentors to help the new graduates find ways to stay active in their faith despite training camps and possible deployments.  
  • If possible, ask your youth director to reach out to each graduate once a quarter, whether that is a phone call, an email, or a note in their mail.  
  • Send care packages with beloved things from home and personal notes of encouragement.   

Regardless of the young adults’ new stage of life, knowing they are loved and valued by their home church is crucial during the years when they are navigating new life choices as well as making their own decisions about staying active in the faith.    

Editor’s note: Looking for faith-based graduation gifts or ministry gifts for youth? CTA’s got you covered!