A few weekends ago, my oldest son attended his first prom. He was excited, and so was I! We wanted his send-off to the dance to be one to remember. We made sure his suit coat and tie matched his date’s dress perfectly. He wore a French cuff shirt with cuff links. His shoes were nicely shined. His haircut looked amazing! His date was gorgeous. After taking pictures, we sent them off for a night of fun.
To have a proper send-off, one needs preparation. This year, millions of seniors will experience the send-off of a lifetime. Many will venture to new states and cities, living alone for the first time in their lives. Their parents will have done all they could to send them off properly.
But What About Us?
As leaders, we often experience a bit of anxiety when saying good-bye to our graduating seniors. We wonder if we’ve done enough. We wonder if we’re sending them off as Jesus sent His disciples. Before commissioning His team, Jesus provided opportunities for them to learn about Him. He taught them how to respond to rejection. He taught them how they would need to depend on Him for their needs. We wonder if we’ve done the same for our students.
As a former youth pastor and now executive pastor, I have the unique opportunity to not only work directly with youth but also impact the entire program from an executive leadership perspective. I’ve learned that the send-off is all in the setup. When we set up our seniors biblically, build healthy relationships, and disciple as Jesus did, we can send them off into the world knowing they’re equipped to share their faith effectively, accurately, and with confidence.
No, they aren’t perfect. They’ll make mistakes. We shouldn’t be too judgmental about that. Peter denied our Savior three times. And even though Jesus knew he’d deny Him, He still told him: “I’ll meet you in Galilee.” Jesus was eager to forgive. Despite the mistakes our seniors may make, they’re still useful to Christ.
Trust the Prep
So, this year as you send your seniors off, trust that the Holy Spirit will bring back to them what you’ve instilled in them. Pray for them before the send-off, during the send-off, and when they’re gone.
You may not see the fruit of your labor this side of Heaven, but if you’ve equipped them with the knowledge of the Gospel and the ability to share it with others, you can send them off confidently in Christ’s care. I mean, they might not look as slick on the outside as my son did heading off to prom (I’m a little biased!), but inwardly they’ll be dressed for Kingdom success.