I love these first couple of weeks of the new year because you run into college students coming back from break. Some of them are excited to see you and others are hoping you don’t ask the question, “Have you been going to church?”
As youth ministers we care if our teens continue to grow as disciples after they leave our ministry. The tendency is to ask about their spiritual life, but maybe we should take a different approach. Before getting into their spiritual life:
REMIND THEM THAT THEY MATTER
You want to make sure your former teens feel like they are more than just a number. Celebrate the fact that it’s good to see them. Ask them about something great going on in their life and show interest.
By showing them that they still matter you’ll remind them that you care about them. The trust they once had in you will come back and it will open the door for deeper conversations.
ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR PLANS
Do not assume that while they are back they are hanging with high school friends and staying busy. A lot of college students, especially freshman will have a lot of dead time. If the opportunity is there ask to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Invite them to serve with you on or off your church campus. Keep them connected by letting them know the church still needs them.
RECONNECT THEM WITH RELATIONSHIPS
It’s easy to lose track of time when someone goes away. Make sure your former teens are connecting with adults who were a part of their life in your ministry. Ask the student:
- Have you talked to your small group leader?
- Did you say hi to the pastor?
- Oh you know who would really like to see you? Make sure you give them a call.
Remind the student that they were and still are a valuable member of your local church.
Adding a college ministry takes a lot of work and can be overwhelming. But, you don’t have to create a new program as long as you remember the importance of relationships. Connect with college students in the big and small way and remind them they matter.
Question: How are you connecting with former students? You can leave a comment by clicking here.