What You Get From Saying Goodbye

When I mentioned meeting at 8am, they looked at me as if I was asking them to run 50 miles through thorn bushes.  Last year, I started a tradition of taking the recent high school grads out to breakfast the week before most of them leave for college.  It’s a moment that’s special for me because it’s a final goodbye before they move on to that next chapter of life.  But, meeting with these students in a intimate setting is more than one last hurrah because you:

  • Receive Long Term Feedback – I’ve found that once a student graduates high school they lose that fear of hurting your feelings.  Not that you should expect negative criticism, but if you want honest feedback they are in a place to give it to you with compassion.  A few sample questions to ask:

What do you enjoy most over your 4-7years?What do you wish I (the youth pastor) could have done or should have done better?What should I (the youth pastor) be aware of with the upcoming generations?

Again, take the time to hear their thoughts and gain their perspective on how the ministry you lead has shaped them.  The fruits from the conversation are amazing.

  • Signify The Change In Relationship – I feel when a teen turns 18 there are a few more details about college and life that I can share with them that I’ve held back before.  I don’t go over board but I feel the conversation can go deeper.  Having this type of conversation lets them know that as their life changes, so does the relationship you have with them.  It’s not longer adult to teenager, it’s peer to peer.
  • Commission Them Off Into Adult Faith – Now that it’s time for them to move on, it’s time to encourage and empower them.  Each year we recognize our seniors at the last week of program; however, doing it in a intimate setting will have more of an impact on their lives.  It becomes more personal when you take time to shed wisdom and tell them to do what Christ tells all His disciples, “Go and make disciples…”

Meeting with your recent grads before they take off is important because it’s a moment that will stay with them for a long time.  It’s the last impression they will have you and of youth ministry.  It’s showing them that you care and that you wish them the best.

How do you send off recent grads?