Welcome Back

I’m feeling old and maybe it’s because I now have a kid, or because I’m on the verge of a new decade of life or maybe it’s the fact that students that were in high school when I first started here are now done with college.  I know I’m not old comparatively, if you are a teen I’m old, if you are anyone else I’m young, but when you start talking to people you once mentored about what jobs they are looking for it really makes you say, “Wow, time flies by.”  But meeting up with former students is encouraging because some of them want to get involved in youth ministry now that they are adults.  They aren’t sure where they want to get involved; however, they know that they want to give back to the ministry that served them well during their formative years.  So we should just plug them in right?  Or are there different steps to plugging in former students who are fresh out of college?
I think when you boil it down, there really shouldn’t be different steps; however, it’s important to take into consideration a few things like 1. that they may have ties to some high school students, such as younger siblings.  If you are going to plug them into a program where they have those ties it’s important to know the type of relationship they have.  You wouldn’t want an overbearing, parent like sibling preventing a student from opening up.  2. You may want to start them slowly depending on their “job” situation.  If they are looking for a job make sure you don’t overload them with responsibility.  They may feel like they have all the time in the world; however, once that paying job approaches, priorities will shift.  3. A third thing that comes to mind is how important it may be to partner them up with a veteran leader.  It could even be their former small group leader if they are still around.  The students will be attracted to the youth and vitality of the younger students; however, it’s our wisdom and authentic interaction that keeps them around.  Even as adults we still need mentorship.
Again, there shouldn’t be too much difference between new ministers who are fresh out of college or well in their years.  You want to always set them up for success; however, with any age group it’s important to know where they are coming from and pointing them to seek out the steps in their faith journey God has designed for them.