Already their minds are turning to what's next. If they are going away to school, the slow disconnect has already begun. Help them bridge the coming spiritual gap. Establish a solid relationship with them, and help them find a church and a Baptist Student Ministry near their campus. Then, whether they're away at school or at home on break they know there's a church that cares about them.
Their social circles are about to change. Many of their friends from youth group may be moving away, leaving those staying home feeling disconnected and in unfamiliar territory at church. Move graduates up to the college group early in the summer so that they can get to know others in the group before fall comes. You might want to move some of their teachers up with them, just for the summer to help with the transition. Sometimes those Senior class teachers don't want to give them up either!
Give them dual citizenship. It's hard to leave the youth group! Just for the summer allow soon to be freshmen to participate in both youth and college activities.
Help them find their new place. Most importantly, be sure to let them know that though they are leaving the youth group, there is still a place for them in the church. So many things are changing for these students. They need to know that the family of faith that has loved them through their teenage years is still there for them as they enter adulthood, and they matter. Walking with them through this transition can be a crucial factor in how they connect with the church in the future, as members and as leaders.
**Don't forget to connect upcoming freshmen to TexasFreshmen.com. Students can enter their names to be connected with someone at the Baptist Student Ministry where they will be attending school, or you can do it for them. They will also find videos and information to help them navigate spiritual life during their college years.