5 Questions to Ask Every Senior
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Every year when spring rolls around those of us in youth ministry find ourselves asking the similar set of questions regarding our seniors.
We ask, “Did I tell them everything I wanted to say? Did I share with them the truth? Did I finish strong?”
When the answer is yes, it makes us feel good; if the answer is no, it does the opposite.
But I’m not convinced that we’ve been asking ourselves the right questions. “Did I…?” questions can reveal something about ourselves, but they tend to tell us very little about our students.
“‘Did I…?’ questions can reveal something about ourselves, but they seem to tell us very little about our students.”
And when some of our most solid kids start college and immediately join the party scene or quickly start questioning their faith, it might be an indication that we’ve been going about evaluation in the wrong way. We need times of reflection that are focused more on our students and less on ourselves.
Here are 5 Questions to ask about every senior student in our ministries:
1. What is their greatest need?
Grab your adult volunteers, go through your list of seniors, and collectively ask “What is their greatest need?” By asking this question you’ll identify what will help each student make a successful college transition. Then take this same question directly to your seniors. Warning! Don’t assume you know their answers. It may be that your impression of a student is far from reality. You may have thought that that one student couldn’t wait to get to college, but in reality, he’s terrified of being on his own for the first time. Asking “What is your greatest need?” opens the door to an impactful conversation where you can speak into those specific needs or concerns while there’s still time.
2. What do they believe regarding the importance of Christian community?
A student who leaves your ministry thinking they don’t need the body of Christ is like a wolf leaving the pack thinking he doesn’t need meat. They’ll survive for a little while, but eventually they’ll start filling themselves with whatever they can find to satisfy that need. Make sure your seniors understand how vital it is that they find Christian community on and off campus, and help them learn how to find it. Check out one idea here.
“A student who leaves your ministry thinking they don’t need the body of Christ is like a wolf leaving his pack thinking he doesn’t need meat.”
3. Do they trust the Word of God?
Students going to college in today’s world are going to face everything we can imagine and more. And when students enter the world lacking a deep trust of God’s Word, they often let their experience trump everything else. Asking this question helps you identify if a student is more likely to interpret the Bible through the lens of experience OR interpret their experience through the lens of God’s Word. The answer to that question will make all the difference. Spend time asking your seniors if they have any questions or doubts about the authority and reliability of the Bible.
4. Do they have a relationship with an adult leader who will keep in touch?
Students need to know that they are not forgotten. They need to know that someone is praying for them, thinking about them, and ready to care for them if they stumble or mess up. Ask yourself, “Is there an adult in this student’s life who will love them, pray for them, and encourage them with truth from God’s Word?” If the answer to this question is “no,” do everything you can to get them paired up with someone. A senior outing or a senior retreat could be a great way to encourage these relationships. What a blessing it is when the student receives a text message from their adult leader asking how things are going!
5. Do they understand the love of God as expressed in the gospel?
We can’t force our students to believe the gospel, but we can make sure that they understand it. In most youth groups, there will be a handful of students who have made it through their senior year without ever having a one-on-one conversation with someone about the gospel. Make sure that every student has this opportunity! You’ll be surprised at how many amazing conversations will come from this type of intentionality.
By taking our eyes off ourselves and asking these 5 specific questions we’ll be able to see more clearly how to finish well with our senior students. And instead of worrying about our seniors, we’ll feel confident at graduation – and so will they.
By: Robbie Becker, El Camino Academy
Robbie Becker has been in student ministry for 16 years, 6 of those as a High School Bible teacher and chaplain at El Camino Academy in Bogota, Colombia where he currently lives. Robbie and his wife Lauren have been married for 10 years and have 3 children under the age of 8 with their 4th baby due in July. Robbie is passionate about students understanding the truth of God’s Word and equipping them to live boldly for Jesus. For fun, Robbie enjoys going on scuba diving trips with his wife in the beautiful waters around Colombia.
additional resources for graduates
Help students discover their God-given mission.
Two great grad gifts! Moving On and a Discipleship Journal.
Send them off with the tools to become a Prayer Champion.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry… Read More