Ryan Weaver, a youth pastor in Maryland, graciously provides today’s Freebie Friday. He has a great idea here about how to prepare seniors for life after high school, but I’ll let him explain it as today’s guest blogger.
Guest blogger: Ryan Weaver of Terminalconfession.com
Several years ago I realized that many of my graduates were moving on to college life and looking over their shoulder all too often instead of surging toward their goals, dreams, and God’s Plan for their lives. Each year I make it one of my ministry goals to sit with my current Seniors and help them plan for their unique future. After trying different things with my graduates, I stumbled upon this system that has helped me start the process of better preparing my Seniors for their lives beyond my student ministry.
When I utilize the linked sheets below with my Seniors I like to take the seniors a weekend retreat to give them some time to separate themselves from the pressures of “senioritis” and impending adult-hood. We spend the first few hours of the weekend working through the main points of maintaining their spiritual walk before we even get to goal-setting. I also carve out some time on the front-end of the weekend for the students to spend some time in worship together and some time for spending solitary time with Christ to think and pray. So many of our Seniors today are crashed with a thousand applications and scholarships and school requirements and so on and so forth that they lose themselves (and Christ) in that busyness. So this “reflection time” is important for the weekend and important for them personally. It is vital that they connect with Christ before they make attempts at setting any goals.
Once there has been adequate time to reflect and connect we move on to the sheets provided below. I am also very careful not to place too many time restrictions on any of this stuff during the weekend. This is a retreat and these 18-year-olds are dealing with some heavy decisions that need time. The goals they set should, if executed with much prayer and wisdom, help drive them toward God’s plan for their lives for many, many years.
I learned that it is important for the Seniors to take a spiritual gifts assessment at some point in that weekend, too, even if they have taken one before. This will ensure that they are thinking about the ways that God has gifted them as they consider their goal-setting. I use the free Lifeway Spiritual Gifts resource, but there are many other tools out there, as well.
Like many of you, the Lord has given me a prevalent passion for raising Christ-loving leaders who influence others in their home, workplace, campus, community, and their church. I hope these tools help you better prepare your graduates and Seniors for the world that awaits them. (*Gentle Disclaimer: in developing these two goal-setting info-sheets, there were numerous conversations with many leaders, educators, and pastors. “There is nothing new under the sun.”)
CONTRIBUTE TO FREEBIE FRIDAY: If you’ve benefited from others who have freely shared their youth ministry resources online, consider giving back to the community by sharing your own materials here. Send me your donations for review and if I publish them in a Freebie Friday, you’ll receive full credit, a link, lots of gratitude and a warm feeling inside that comes from sharing with others.
Posted on October 5, 2007