One of the core ideas of Sticky Faith is that young people need to feel a part of their church community at each age and stage of their development in order for them to grow a faith that sticks with them through life.
The big faith challenge for a young person comes when they leave their home (and their home church), and step out into a world which doesn’t provide the foundation and routines that they’ve come to lean on. So where does our responsibility lie when a young person in our church comes of age and leaves home? Do we wave them off with our best wishes and hope to see them again at Christmas… or are they still a part of our community, even after they’ve left?
There are many ways which we could communicate to our young people that we still consider them part of our church family. One easy way is to celebrate with them as they finish school and acknowledge their achievement. Get them up at the front on a Sunday morning when they’ve finished their exams. Tell them we’re proud of them. Tell them we’re praying for them no matter what. Tell them we’d love to hear from them and they’re welcome any time. Give them a slot in the newsletter to share about their new experiences, or invite them to come back and speak to the youth about what college or Uni is like.
Another way is to reach out and remind them that we’re thinking of them. What young person doesn’t glow a little- even the lads!- when you offer them some unexpected encouragement. I’ve come across a website that I adore called Giver’s Log which is all about, well, giving. The category ‘Happy Mail’ is dedicated to ideas for care parcels that you could send to a uni student to let them know you’re thinking about them. And get this- all of the parcel ideas weigh 13 oz or less! (As it’s an American site, this weight is what separates a letter from a parcel. It’s probably not the same here, but it will still be pretty cheap to send!) Check it out:
As our young people are finishing exams and taking next steps, let’s get encouraging!