By Alvin Lau, Youth Ministries Associate
The move into post-secondary education can be an exhilarating, thrilling, and nerve-wracking experience for any young adult–that’s why it’s vital for home churches to be a base of support as they venture into this new world (especially if they’re moving away from home). Here are some considerations for the home church to take:
CONNECT THEM TO A NEW COMMUNITY
Research like the Renegotiating Faith Report reminds us that when a sending church helps to bridge frosh into a new faith community, they are 4x more likely to stay with that new community. There are a few ways to do this:
- Use your personal connections
- Use networks like our CBOQ family, transition101.ca (a collaboration of CBOQ Youth with 4 campus ministries), or other services like Waybase.com.
For those staying home for school it’s worthwhile to connect them to another community as young adults look to differentiate themselves from their parents/upbringing. It may be helpful to connect them to a different local church or young adult ministry.
Something to keep in mind: don’t assume they will return to your church. Whether they find a new home or God calls them elsewhere, be mindful that their return back to your church is not inevitable (and that’s OK).
Unconditionally be a support to them. This can include:
- Have a group of people praying regularly for them
- Regularly send encouraging texts/messages. This could be from the prayer group where they receive a note checking into to see how they’re doing (not in a parental way) and asking for prayer requests
- Send care packages. It could be 2-3 of their favourite treats with an encouragement note perhaps in late September, early November, end of January and late March
- Schedule an in-person or online visit–it’s encouraging to see a friendly face
COME ALONGSIDE PARENTS
This isn’t just a new chapter for those frosh; it’s also a new chapter for their parents. Whether they are part of your church family or not, extending similar supports to them so they don’t have to navigate this on their own is a great way to build community.
Heading to college or university is a big step, but it isn’t one that needs to be taken alone. May you, as the sending church be a godly presence to your young adults as they head into this next chapter.