Last year around this time I started taking some of the various games, devotionals, experiences, and other resources I've developed over the years, adapted them to make them less NMC-specific and make them available to other ministries through the super-awesome, ridiculously affordable folks at Download Youth Ministry (downloadyouthministry.com).
As I was working on what we call our "Senior Sundays" this Spring, it dawned on me that there are many of my youth ministry friends who are in the same predicament as I was 4 years ago...
Flashback to 4 years ago...
It was really settling in. I was preparing to graduate out my 12th Senior Class since going on fulltime at NMC. 12 Classes, average (on the low end) of 50 students each class who call NMC home... that's a lot of kids through our doors, which is truly awesome and humbling to be a part of.Back to this Spring...
At the same time, there were two burdens eating away at me:
So, in a lunch meeting with some Senior leadership in the church, I bore my soul over these burdens and the wheels started turning. 3 months later with the blessing and resourcing of some amazing church leadership, we had made some adjustements in staffing and focus to move ahead with a significant focus on creating a better bridge from the youth group years to life after.
- The statistics on the amount of active youth groups kids that were choosing to be spiritual dropouts during the college years, and more specifically the actual names and faces of students who I could identify fitting in with those statistics.
- The seeming impossibility of adequately walking with and ministering to students after graduation. Just stop and think about it... with every graduating class there is a new class of students stepping into the Student Ministries. I was living with 14 years of awkward conversations with former students (having trouble remembering names or details of what was going on his/her life), hurt feelings (more than one student contacted me to let me know how hurt they were by the lack of continued care/communication after graduation) and good old-fashioned youth pastor guilt (I'm not doing enough, I'm failing, I have to find a solve).I was also living with 14 years worth of realization that I could only do so much. Ultimately, I felt it was time to find a way for that "so much" to include a better approach toward the post grad years.
So I'm sitting there reflecting on the 4 years worth of experiences and programs we implemented, it dawned on me, "Why not let others benefit from this stuff?" I contacted my friends at DYM and pitched the idea of putting together a set of resources all centered around working with grads, and they loved it!
After 2 months of late nights and off-hour work to deeply edit and turn the materials from NMC-specific to ministry-neutral and adaptable products, I submitted 9 different resources to be considered.
This past Monday, DYM released all 9 products for individual purchase, but also made them available in one purchase (at about 50% less) called The Senior Superpack.
As I scrolled through the product description late Monday Night, something really settled in with me... this stuff has the potential to be a game changer for youth groups, and ultimately individual students. So humbling, and so exciting!
If you're a youthmin person, I'd encourage you to go check out the Superpack. Take the stuff and make it work for you in your context.
*Inspired by the fantastic book and research by the folks at Fuller Youth Insititute: check out stickyfaith.org