Honoring Graduates

Depending on where you live, you have either a month and a half or two months before your seniors graduate.  So, what do you do as a Youth Minister to honor them?

At Cedar Run we honor our graduating seniors in two ways.  For starters, we honor them during a Sunday morning service in June.  During the service, we call them all up to the front of the stage, present them with gift and our Senior Pastor gives a short 5 minute homily directed towards them and their next stage in life.  Then, after the service, we honor them by having a luncheon for them and their entire family.  At the luncheon, we invite at least 1 returning college freshman who got plugged into fellowship and stayed strong in Christ his/her 1st year at school to come and share about the importance of getting involved in fellowship immediately when they arrive at their college.  These two ways of honoring graduating seniors have worked out really well for us over the years.

But these are not just the only two ways you can honor your graduating seniors.  When I was a senior in high school (way too long ago), my church did a pretty formal dinner where they had juniors serve as waiters.  The dinner was great and well made.  Then a youth leader would get up and share followed by a testimony from a college student.  It was a great experience and something I look back on fondly.

If you are reading this and thinking you have missed your chance to put something together, it is NOT TOO LATE to plan something.  Here is some help/thoughts to make it a success:

  • If you are looking for gifts, Christian Book Distributors has some really nice ones for under $10.  Click here to go to the graduate gift section.
  • You can still find tons of places that can cater a lunch.  OR, you can still make a home-cooked meal by getting parents of non-graduates and your youth involved.  Catering is nice because you don’t have to mess with all the prep and clean up.  But it might serve your youth and church better if you have a home-cooked meal prepared and served by them.
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL YOUR GRADUATES!  By that I mean that you make sure you do not miss one or two and forget to honor them.  I have done this in the past and it is not good.  A way to make sure you have all the graduates is to run your list of graduates past the others on your church staff and your volunteer leaders.  It does help if you have an updated youth roster to refer to.  But comb over that list so that you make sure you have all the graduates honored.

So what about you?  What do you do to honor your graduates?  Post a comment so we can all benefit.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

2 thoughts on “Honoring Graduates

  • April 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I am having the 9th-11th graders make a YouTube style video of rememberance. They all sat together in front of the camera, with a list of names posted behind the camers so no one was left out, and they talked to each one remembering times together, or talking about how that person had enriched their lives. They were very conscientious about giving each graduate equal time or keeping their conmments general and positive. We are making copies for each of our seniors. These will be given individually from youth group members to youth group members, not as part of a general service. We will do a much more open and generic recognition during worship, which will include an open invite to all graduates whether they come to youth group or not.

    • April 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

      What a great idea!! Great job.


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