Over the next couple of weeks, several of the posts will provide ways to “bridge” from the summer into the school year.
I heard a college minister once encourage other college ministers to organize a “reunion” for all returning students. Right before classes start, or in the first week of school before the first “normal” Large Group Meeting, invite everybody to come hang out… just don’t advertise this gathering when you’re recruiting new students.
That way, he said, your returning students can reconnect with each other, swap stories about the summer, etc. – getting all of that (important reconnection stuff) out of the way, so they’re ready to be great Hosts for the incoming freshmen and other new students. You need your returning students on point when the new students come.
Plus this might just help your ministry’s retention rate, too, since it’s something for returning students to do right away that’s comfortable and fun and that reminds them of all the reasons they stuck around last year.
And of course, this “reunion” might be a great chance for the debrief I discussed yesterday.