|Courtesy of Dreamstime|
I love Thanksgiving because it’s a time to gather with family and eat some great food. I also like Thanksgiving because it gives me a chance to reconnect with some of the teens who have been away at college. I don’t do anything formal, just shoot out a message on Facebook, Twitter or email to say, “How are things going? Do you want to meet up?” Some years I connect with a few, other years it’s been a missed opportunity. Regardless of how successful you are, it’s important to reconnect with former teens for many reasons, especially these two:
- You Show You’re Not Done – I remember the first time I came home for Thanksgiving feeling a little distant, a little unsure of who would remember me. As youth ministers we need to remind these young adults that the church, and especially God never forgets them. We might be done as their youth ministers but we should be done as a church of disciples helping them grow as disciples.
- Gives You A Much Needed Perspective – For some reason, I’ve found that college students are more likely to give you harsh truth about the ministry after they are no longer in it. Some of the changes I’ve made have been due to the feedback former teens have given me. They have perspective and wisdom that can help you measure the success of your mission.
Besides helping them and helping your ministry grow it’s important to reconnect with students because you can relive how far you’ve come. Youth ministry is a long journey; however, time also flies by quicker than we can gauge. By reconnecting with former students we slow our perspective and can see the fruit of our labor and where we still need to grow.
Why else should we reconnect with former teens?