How To Honor Graduating Students While Keeping The Big Picture In Focus.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am new this school year to my church and its Youth Ministry. In the past years, Axiom (Student Ministry) has had “Grad Nights” to honor the Seniors, where all Seniors come dressed in caps and gowns, and some of the core leaders go through each student and affirm/challenge them in their future endeavors. Each Senior gets a going away present from the staff, like a Bible or inspiring book. I really like it, I think its great!

But as for this school year, I wanted to take a little bit of a different approach. Not a huge change, just a few small & subtle differences that I think can make this night a huge hit:

cap on books

  1. We are letting go of the ownership: I had this idea to let the Seniors “own” this night. It’s a night for them, by them. It will be a Senior led band, Senior led game/announcements/host, a video that features all of the Seniors and edited by a Senior, as well as a Senior led message & testimony time. If it ends up going smoothly and there’s a huge impact, this may end up being something I do periodically in the future! The only part I’m holding onto is a little bit of administrative work, as well as closing remarks to all of the Seniors with encouragement.
  2. We are redirecting the focus: In the past, this night has been a night FOR the Seniors. What I’m trying to leverage this year is the current Seniors’ experience that they can pour back into the younger kids. So, the message we’re doing is going to be called, “Let Me Tell You One Thing”, where we’re having 4 of our Seniors (chosen) share something they’ve learned that they’d love to share with everyone else! So, if they could tell a current 9th grader ONE thing, what would it be? When I cast this vision to our Seniors, they were stoked about this opportunity!
  3. We are broadening the “crowd:” Usually this night is a “normal” Axiom on Wednesday night where students come at the same time as usual and get the chance to honor the Seniors. What I’m doing this year is to leverage this important benchmark night by encouraging any or all of our parents (or Axiom supporters) to come out that night in support of the Seniors. So, if a 9th grader’s parent comes out to check it out and sees the importance of being involved in a group like this, that’s a WIN! Or, if a church member who has no kids comes out to check out Axiom, and then becomes a huge supporter of Axiom in their words to others, that’s a WIN!

That’s what we’re doing this year for our 2013 Grads… What are you guys doing?


photo credit: via