- Buy them a Bible in an easy-to-read translation that includes study notes and/or concordance. Examples would be TNIV, NIV2011, or NLT.
- Offer to buy them the most expensive drink at Starbucks they can create. In addition to noting their creativity, you’ll have their attention. Meet armed with info on churches or campus ministries in their new college town. If they’re staying local, let them know how they can stay involved (with a new ministry or group for college students).
- Attend their graduation ceremony and/or graduation party. It doesn’t sound all that creative, but your presence and encouragement mean more than you know. Then seek out the parents and family of the grad to let them know you and the church are praying for them.
- Make a “college survival kit” and present it to them on the day you honor grads at church. Suggested items to include: some source of caffeine (gift cards or coffee beans), a ream of paper (to print all those assignments & papers), scented room air freshener, granola bars, trail mix, reusable water bottle, gas card, gum, movie tickets, iTunes gift cards.
- Pray for them. Again, this is not an earth-shattering, ground-breaking idea. But we, as pastors, know the power and impact it can have.
- Pray for them in church the week before or after graduation.
- Pray for grads the Sunday before they leave for school. Let them know that in their leaving (or staying) they remain a part of the church’s community.
- Then, sometime in late October or early November (when the pressure is at its highest because of workload and homesickness has set it in), send them a note to tell them you’ve been praying. This can definitely be a Facebook message or a text message, but there’s nothing quite like letting your prayer marinate with richness by sending a card in the mail with a stamp on it.
Email Brenton and connect with him personally, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org