May is a big season for youth ministries! Your seniors are graduating, and it can be a wild ride. These may be the students you’ve ministered to and spent time with over the last six or seven years. And you may be trying to figure out how to honor them and launch them into the next season.

And you’re also figuring out how to do that without making anyone upset or leaving anyone out!

What can you do?

Here are some ideas for honoring your seniors and even having them speak into the lives of the students who are coming behind them.

Have Seniors Speak at Youth Group

While not every senior can deliver a 30-minute message, you might be able to ask a senior to give the group following them some life advice. The high school pastor I worked with would do this regularly. He would schedule 3 to 4 seniors during a youth group program and have them offer advice to the next class. It was usually great to hear what the seniors would come up with and how they would take the lessons they learned in youth group and pass them down to the students following them.

Recognize Them on a Sunday Morning

On a particular Sunday morning, call up students who are graduating and have them stand on stage. It’s always a great moment to recognize them in front of the whole church! You can either hand them a microphone and have them go down the line saying their name, where they are from, and what their next season of life holds for them. Make sure you communicate in advance what this will be so that students and parents are prepared for it!

Get Them a Gift

Try to get students something to mark the occasion. Maybe it’s a Bible where their family and friends have highlighted verses to take them into the next season. Maybe it’s a devotional aimed at seniors so that they can enter this next season walking with God. Maybe it’s exclusive Youth Ministry swag that only graduates get. Whatever you do, think about how a student might look at this gift and remember their time in Youth Ministry fondly.

Set Them Up for What’s Next

Do your new seniors know how to look for a church? Do they know how to ask and get plugged into a new ministry? I know a youth pastor who would take his seniors to a couple of different churches during their summer after high school. He would have them learn everything they could about the new church on one visit and ask how to get plugged in. I love this idea because the youth pastor would go with them and help coach them through it! What a great idea to help students look for a new church since most of our seniors might be moving on to their next chapter in a new city and not know how to find a new community of believers!

How would you help launch seniors into the next season?

Want some help with having seniors tell their stories? Check out this resource!