The class of 2020 has lost so much. Graduations are canceled, and celebrations are postponed. Summer plans for college orientations, internships, and fun are on hold. For many of us, we can’t physically gather with our seniors to recognize them and celebrate with them right now, but that doesn’t need to hold us back. Our seniors deserve to be honored in big ways! We polled some veteran youth workers to see what they are doing and compiled a list of the best ideas we’ve found for honoring and celebrating your senior class in the midst of these crazy times. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share them in the comments below.
How to recognize your seniors in an upcoming online Church worship service:
- Picture slideshow of your seniors
Possibly include baby picture & senior picture
Include High School they graduated from
Pictures from their time in youth ministry at youth and Church events
- Video testimonials of your seniors – here are some questions you could ask:
What has the Church meant to you? (opportunity for them to express their appreciation!)
Who or what has most helped shape your faith formation? How? (who = significant adults or peers; what = programs, Bible studies, events, trips that the youth participated in)
How have you grown in your faith from your Middle school years to High school to now?
How has the Church prepared you for a continued life of discipleship after graduation?
- Get people in your church, or see who your congregants have connections to in the community and beyond (think athletes, musicians, politicians, etc.) to express congratulatory messages on video and compile those together to follow your senior spotlight
How to celebrate your seniors at your next online youth gathering:
- Invite your seniors to wear the graduation cap gowns that they never got to wear!
- Have your seniors share testimonies with the rest of your group. This could be pre-recorded or live. Here are some questions you could use:
Share a highlight or meaningful memory from your time in the youth ministry or at the Church.
How have you grown in your faith since you first entered the youth ministry?
What words of wisdom do you have to offer those younger than you? What legacy do you want to pass on to the classes below you?
Some of the same ideas posted below for social media could be utilized here too
- In person idea for small to medium size churches: Do a drive-through caravan celebration at the Church. Have families come in their cars together with decorated signs on the cars (seniors name & post graduation plans) with Church staff and volunteers (Senior Small Group Leaders, Sunday School teachers, etc.) in the parking lot with party gear cheering them on. Invite seniors to wear their cap and gown! Have baskets for each of the seniors in a designated spot for people to drop off cards and gifts for each other.
How to celebrate your seniors on social media:
- A senior spotlight a day posted on social media. Highlight one of your seniors and help share their story and the ways they have impacted the Kingdom of God so far!
- Post pictures of the senior class from their first year in your youth ministry until now. You probably have some of these saved, but you can also collect them from your seniors. Post pictures of them on their 7th grade mission trip or their 10th grade High School Retreat. You could do this as part of a senior week spotlight on social media or as a slideshow/video you create to give as a gift to the seniors!
Gift Ideas to mail or drop off to your seniors:
- Recruit 5 meaningful adults in the seniors’ life to write letters that you have mailed to the seniors (parents, grandparents, small group leaders, pastors, former Confirmation Friend in Faith or Mentor, teachers, coaches, etc.)
- A book, devotional, Bible, or journal for the Grad to use this summer or for their first year of college. On the inside cover of whatever you choose, write the graduate a personal and encouraging note! Here are some book and devotional suggestions:
“Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis
“Let Your Life Speak” by Parker Palmer
”Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God” by Francis Chan
“The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“The Book of Everyday Prayer: Liturgies for Personal Devotion” by Jeremy Steele
“Oh The Place You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss
- Make and order yard signs for your graduating seniors for their yards from your Church that you surprise them with in their yards OR put them in the yard of your Church (with permission) if your Church is visible to the community when they drive by to see that your Church is recognizing and celebrating your senior class.