Graduation is on the horizon. Caps and gowns are purchased. Speeches are written. Teachers are proud. Parents are happy and sad, all at the same time. And students are anticipating their future. But with all the coming change, high school graduates often become disconnected from their church.
According to a Lifeway Research study, two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults say they dropped out of church for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22. Many factors contribute to this decrease in young adult church attendance. However, most of those who dropped out listed a life change as the reason for their dropping out.
Is there a way to keep graduates engaged in church? With students moving to new cities, attending new colleges, and/or starting new careers, that is a lot of change. So how can you keep current students plugged in and welcome new grads? Check out these 7 ways to keep high school graduates engaged in church.
Have a ministry designed for young adults.Young adults long for community. It may be challenging to feel connected when they’re no longer attending high school with the same friends they’ve had for the past years. Having a space for their age group will help them feel a part of the church. It’s also an opportunity to pour into these former students in areas they desire to grow. Many young adults previously attended a youth group, and now they need a new community they can connect with.
Host events for young adults.Along with having a young adults ministry, hosting events for young grads can help keep them engaged. Springing into adulthood can be overwhelming with so many choices and things to do. Providing fun, wholesome events for these students to attend will give them better options than what the world provides. Plus, they can make new friends and meet new people.
Include small groups for newly graduated students.Sure, older teenagers may attend a church service every now and then. But one way to get them plugged in is to offer small groups dedicated to that specific age group. They’re no longer in high school or youth groups, so having a small group designed for them can encourage their walk with God and establish deeper relationships.
Provide mentorship programs.One way to keep graduates engaged in church and in their faith is to offer mentorship or discipleship programs for them. Consider having an older, more experienced adult with a younger one. These mentor relationships can distill wisdom into the recent graduates. This is critical during this time as they experience new choices and opportunities. Having somebody guide them through their spiritual walk can make a big difference.
Encourage them to use their gifts.Young adults want to feel like they can contribute to something bigger than themselves. They’re passionate. Link their passions with ministry. Encourage them to volunteer in kids or youth ministry as leaders. Get them involved with the welcome team or creative ministry. Just because they’re younger doesn’t mean they can’t lead. Find spaces where your church needs help and ask these new graduates to get involved.
Inspire generosity.When people find a cause to give to, they often feel more connected. Inspire young adults to not only get involved with their time but their treasure, too. Many churches don’t like to ask younger people to give because they feel they can’t contribute much. But a lot of times they don’t receive because they don’t ask. And it’s never too early to encourage these young adults to walk in obedience when it comes to generosity.
Foster good stewardship.
One way to help encourage giving in young adults is to teach them how to be good stewards of their money. Offer financial classes. Teach them how to budget. Setting them up for success in every area of their finances will help them to be generous. When they can understand where their money is going each month, they’ll be more likely to contribute to the church.
e360 Giving and ChMS to Keep Graduates Engaged
Use e360 ChMS to not only find out who your high school graduates are but to keep connected with them. Find out if they’re serving or in a small group, and communicate with them. E360 Giving makes it easy for young adults to give in ways that are convenient for them. To find out more, connect with our team today.