Graduation is . . .

Graduation is a Time to Trust in the Lord

God has brought graduates to this time of celebration. Just as He has been faithful in the past, so can He be counted on with the future. Each step forward can be taken in full confidence, knowing that wholeheartedly trusting Him rather than leaning on one’s own understanding leads to that which is best and for the good.

Graduates, look at graduation as . . .

a time to look back

… with gratitude for all who helped get you to this point, especially God.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col. 2:6-7)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Col. 3:15)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17)

a time to look forward

… with anticipation of what God has in store for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

a time to look current

… with trust for what steps God wants you to take now.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Ps. 55:22)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

Resources: Graduation Ministry Resources

After Graduation, Then What?

Many young people will soon be graduating from high school or college.  The church can give them a nice certificate to recognize this accomplishment or some other keepsake gift.  We can wish them well in their adult lives.

But, can we keep them in the church?

Actual figures of how many drop out of church vary.  One of the lower figures I’ve seen is from a 2006 Barna study.  Here is a quote from that report:

In fact, the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences. Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith.

I think the question we must ask is why they aren’t staying.

  • Is it a matter of intellectual disengagement?  Have we not done a good job apologetically with them?
  • Is it a heart issue?  Do they want to be in control of their own lives more than they want God?  Are we praying for them as we should?
  • Or is it something else?