Senior year is tough and yet it’s full of celebration. It’s a time of incredible change and hope for the future. However, as I’ve watched many senior classes come and go, I see a dark side as well. It’s because of that dark side and the hope I have that my students can rise above the obstacles they face that I write this:
**NOTE** Yes, this is directed towards the students in my youth ministry, though it pertains to any seniors. And no, though we always want to assume it is, no part of this is written specifically about any one person.
1. Our youth ministry is still for you, even if it’s not for you anymore.
Things in our youth ministry are becoming less and less FOR you in the sense of a consumer and are becoming more and more FOR you in the sense of a leader. It’s not like things have magically become less pertinent to you. What’s happened is that your mind is now beginning to shift to your soon-coming change out of high school, living under mom and dad’s roof, and being viewed as a child.
There are some big changes going on! Under the surface, even if you don’t realize it, you’re beginning to sense you need to change. 99% of the time the answer is not to run away but to stay and begin to lead. However, about 99% of the time there is that urge to leave instead of leading. The underclassmen are looking to you. Choose to lead them rather than to leave them. It’ll be an example much more along the lines of what I’m sure you’d like to be known for.
2. Now is not the time to rebel but to excel.
You know that thing called senioritis? That thing you joked about having in freshman or sophomore year? But now you REALLY have?! Yeah, that thing. Well it’s going to push you to sit around and do nothing. To coast. To take the easy roads whenever possible.
That’s understandable, but it shouldn’t really be all that desirable. Why would you work so hard to let your grades go down the drain? Or why would you strive to have a solid relationship with God and then decide to do a last minute change up and use your senior year to throw it all away?
By the time you’re a senior you’re tired. You’re just frustrated and exhausted with all the effort you’ve had to put in to get to this point. You’re ready to just do what YOU want. But don’t let what you want now take away from what you’ve worked so hard to achieve for so many more months and years before now.
3. Set some “I’m not finished yet” goals.
At this point you probably know you’re going to graduate high school. That’s great. We’ll eat barbecue and sit out on your lawn and tell you how great you are in about 8 months. But you can do more!
There’s incredible potential in you. You’ve learned things you can pass on. You have influence that underclassmen only dream of having. You have experience that makes you a more knowledgable leader. You have more flexibility which allows you to serve more, achieve more, help more, accomplish more. All I’m saying is you’re not done yet!
Start setting some serious goals for the next few months. What can you accomplish before you graduate? And how can you run this final sprint of the marathon with all you’ve got? You’d be ticked off if you watched a runner start to slow her pace as she neared the end, figuring that she was almost there anyway. Run hard, run strong!
And while you’re at it, set some goals for the summer after you graduate. How are you going to make sure you soak in all that time with friends before people go their separate ways? What are you going to do to make sure it doesn’t feel like a wasted 2 months? And what are you going to do to prepare for college or whatever is next for your life?
Before you know it your senior year will be over. You’ll be dressed in that gown trying to remember which side the tassel starts on. (It’s the right side, by the way.) You’ll be thinking, “Wow! This year flew by so fast!” And you’ll be right; it did.
The future will be staring you in the face. And we, as your cheering section, believe you can handle it. Show us we’re right. Don’t show us then, because if you start then it may be too late. Then is not your time.