I wrote Tuesday on the need for us to consider those who have, up until this semester, been a part of our community. Maybe they graduated in the Spring or Summer, or maybe they’re just temporarily gone – on an internship, perhaps, or studying abroad.
If we’re willing to consider doing this – and I beg you to consider doing this – I would also encourage a strategy, like a program or a team, to get this done.
Because while we love to think that our students will receive that kind of encouragement and exhortation “organically,” it’s tough. Honestly, we can’t really expect people thrown into the “real world” (whether permanently or temporarily) for the first time to be good at navigating this, can we? They haven’t had to navigate this world before, so they’re unlikely to seek out all the community they need. And their friends are either in the same boat (if they, too, have left college behind) or those friends don’t know how to deal with people who aren’t still in their world.
And we’d like to think we – their college ministers – will be good – naturally, organically – at contacting those students who have left our community. Chances are, the realities of our local ministry will override the desire to shepherd those away from us.
Unless we plan for it. Unless we plan for helping these students, either directly or by organizing others to do it.
And we can, right?
- We can calendar it.
- We can train students for post-college spirituality before they leave.
- We can train other students to be good friends to those who leave.
- We can help parents who – like their students – are figuring out something new.
- We can organize a student ministry team – for real – meant to help all of this happen better.