When a person makes a commitment of faith and joins your church, add them to your mailing list - send them a Newsletter.
Junior Year - High School
Fall through Spring
Offer assistance to the youth and his/her parent(s) as they look at colleges. Utilize college students, campus ministers in the area, and high school guidance counselors.
If there are interest, time, and resources, offer to take your high school juniors on a tour of some selected campuses during the fall or spring. Try to select a variety. For example, local community college, large state university, smaller state university, and a private college (one of our Baptist schools) could be on your tour.
Let them know that you care about their decisions and want to be a part of the process if at all possible. For example, you could plan some study sessions in the spring to assist youth who are preparing to take the SAT.
Senior Year - High School
August - December
Offer assistance to the youth and their families in completing college applications.
Utilize church members who have gone through the process with their youth, and/or invite some freshmen back to assist in the writing of essays. There may be a church member who has been or currently is an Admissions Counselor at a college who would talk with parents and youth about preparing applications.
Filling out Financial Aid Forms can be frustrating for parents. Perhaps there is an accountant in the church who can help explain and assist in their preparation.
Make a special effort to have college students, who are home for the Christmas Break, and high school seniors spend time talking together about college life.
As graduation from high school approaches, make sure that you know who is graduating. Plan a recognition time. Giving a gift from the church is a very tangible way of showing you care.
If you have a college Sunday School class, now is the time to "promote" the high school graduates into that class.
Using the Crossover: Preparing for College material might be helpful during this time. Transitions can be tough, and high-school seniors know how hard they can be. Now they face the most challenging transition of all: from high-school student to college student. The material encourages church leaders to help youth adjust to the changes they will face, to handle freedom responsibly, to grow from dependence toward independence, to grow in discipleship as a college student, to prepare financially, and to establish and maintain relationships.
Plan for some discussion groups for parents of students heading to college sponsored by parents who have already sent students on to college.
During the summer, make sure that the church office has names and addresses of all college students. Let the Campus Ministry Team of the Baptist State Convention of N. C. know who the students are, and where they are going to attend college, if the college is in N. C. Begin preparing a mailing list so that all church newsletters and special mailings are sent to students.
Begin referring to the young people as students not youth.
As August approaches, plan to have an On To College Emphasis at the church. Make sure that students are recognized, both first year and returning students.
Begin to promote the North Carolina Fall Student Conference (FC) held the last weekend in September. Students and their leaders from local churches and campuses attend the event. Information is available from local campus ministers and from the Campus Ministry Team of the Bapist State Convention of NC.
First Year - College
Make sure you have all students' correct mailing addresses and phone numbers. Calling parents is the best way of getting this information. Send a letter to each freshman encouraging him or her during the first semester or quarter.
If your church is near a residential campus and you want to involve students who will be attending it, contact the campus minister or the Student Affairs staff of the school and ask for the list of Baptist preference students in order to send them information about your church and its opportunities for students. Be sure and ask for an academic calendar for the upcoming year. Knowing when classes begin and end and when there are breaks will enable you to plan your special events for students plus you will know when they will be away.
Find out from the students and/or parents what the academic schedule is for the year. Having this information will greatly assist in your church planning.
September - October - November
Begin to think about visiting these students on campus during the fall. Call or write and invite students to meet at a restaurant for a free meal. If there are several students in a close area, invite them to meet together. The more the merrier. It may be easier for the students if several of them are invited. There are any number of ways in which visits can be made.
Planning for a Student Day at Christmas can be a very tangible and exciting way to let students know of their importance. Some suggested program formats are available from the Campus Ministry Team of the Baptist State Convention of NC.
Contributed by Joe Clontz, Former Student Ministry Consultant, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina