“Only a few weeks left.” Your grade 12 grads are anticipating the end of their high school career. They’re also figuring out what the next chapter of their lives looks like whether they’re going to university or college, or pursuing jobs. How do you help them with this transition?

Here are some ways your church can be a support for this crucial life-stage change.

Have someone walk with the students during this stage. These are uncharted waters–no one knows what lies ahead. To have someone to turn to is vital from a spiritual—and a psychological—perspective. A resource such as our grad mentoring kit could help facilitate those conversations. The key is to be available to the students for that shift.

When appropriate, help build bridges into that next stage. For example, if students are going to another city, help them connect with a local church or campus group beforehand. Something like Transition 101 (happening this Saturday) or our Post-secondary Campus Locator can be that bridge.

Come from the perspective of “sending off well”, not “how do we keep them.” The fact is, Jesus is interested in building his kingdom, which may include moving people from one local church to another. The tighter we try to hold on to people, the more pressure we place on them and ourselves. But if we come from a perspective of empowering people and helping them discern God’s directives, we can help commission them to whatever next phase God has for them.

If you’re a receiving church, find ways to connect to local campus groups to be a resource and support (instead of seeing them as an HR solution to your ministry needs). Especially for those who participate in campus ministries, recognize that some students need a place of refuge. Providing that in an intergenerational context helps to build up those students.

Part of the reason why so many young adults fall away from the church is because they feel left to their own devices without anyone to really turn to. While we don’t hold their hands each step of the way, we need to provide support systems to assist as needed. Granted, some people will walk away from the faith. Jesus already warned us that many would not stay with him. But for those who desire to stay, let’s walk with them to empower both their sending off and their reception during this next stage.

What else do you do to support your grade 12 grads in this transition?