Partnering with Parents of Graduating Seniors
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You might be stressing about what to give your graduating seniors, but do you remember what you got from your church? I remember getting yet another Bible, lots of gift cards (which I loved), and tons of memorabilia printed with Jeremiah 29:11, which inadvertently made me feel like I was about to enter into captivity.
But I also remember leaving the church with no clear connection, no purpose, and with no plan for my next phase of faith. My parents were just as clueless as me, and it showed when they had no idea what to do with me. That’s why we created a partnering-with-parents strategy for sending our seniors off in style:
The moment a student enters our ministry our number one priority is to partner with parents. No matter what series or study we do, we are constantly trying to provide extra resources to parents. Sometimes it’s a book or blog; other times it’s simply explaining the definition of “yeet”.
This makes a great lead up to the end of a student’s junior year. We send every parent, who is about to have a senior, a special package. In this package, we include a phase card from Orange that gives a cheat sheet for questions to ask and how their student will develop over the next year. We also give them a bag of 52 marbles with a letter explaining that each marble represents the 52 weeks we have to prepare a student for adulthood. In actuality, we’ve had 936 weeks, but now we’re down to this handful. This is a sobering thought for parents, but we follow this info with a commitment to partner with their student beyond graduation and be a lifetime mentor.
This year we’re sending parents a new resource book called “18 Plus” which gives them a next step guide for coaching their graduate. We do this because parents can feel just as hopeless as a graduated senior.
Throughout the year, we stay in constant communication with those parents and small group leaders are challenged to strengthen that connection with the family as well.
We ask parents questions like:
- Have you scoped out a church where your student will attend?
- Can we help you with that in any way?
- What are your student’s favorite snacks (so we can send care-packages)?
- What are you worried about most?
Parents are relieved when we partner with them on finding a church home for their student. These resources and regular communication have made a big difference in how we send off our seniors. With these steps in place parents watch their seniors graduate with strong connections, clear purpose, and a plan for what’s ahead.
By: Sam Pettersen
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