It is the season for gift-giving to graduates and for celebrating their accomplishments, whether they are moving on from kindergarten, elementary or middle school, high school, college, or professional school. We recognize what they have done and what lies ahead. This is especially significant for high-school graduates as they begin the process of separation from family and the familiar in vocation and in their faith journeys. Pastors, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, and parents have nurtured them in the faith. Now they will live out that faith in new places and explore in new ways of being, which aren’t included in core curriculum, majors, and graduation requirements.

As pastors or youth leaders, let your high-school graduates know that they are not forgotten when they begin this phase of their lives. Give them the gift of continued connection.

For those going directly into jobs, community colleges, or professional training, the gift of connection can be communication through emails, texts, or other social media. Learn about and share opportunities for young adults in the local churches, circuits, districts, and annual conferences where they are located.

For those who will be attending University of Wisconsin campuses—at Madison, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Platteville, Whitewater, River Falls, Stout, Stevens Point, or Oshkosh—United Methodist Collegiate Ministries serve all students. Programs include worship, fellowship, discipleship, service, and faith formation; and these vital ministries create safe spaces for students to study, talk, relax and reflect. Gift your graduating seniors with knowledge of this continued connection, information on collegiate ministry from the Board of Higher Education and Student Ministry, available at https://www.wisconsinumc.org/ministries/spiritual-form/higher-education-student-ministry.

Then double the gift by sending student names to the collegiate ministers where students will attend. Dedicated and talented ministry professionals will reach out to the new students and continue the connection through invitation, ministry, and service.

As pastors, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, or parents, make sure your graduates know that their connection with The United Methodist Church doesn’t end with graduation. It moves into the future with them, bearing new fruit in its season.

By Mike Moser, Chair, BHESM