Here’s a shot from this weekend – we gathered up a bunch of students on stage to say goodbye to a couple of long-time staff members and friends. Jared (on staff a few years ago focusing on Student Leadership) and Alanna (on staff currently as worship/music coordinator) are headed to Virginia as youth workers at a great church there. Made me think about something I’ve been learning the last few weeks again – part of youth ministry is saying goodbye:
Goodbye to graduating seniors
This is the time of year when you have to say goodbye to students that have hit for the cycle and are heading out. Some seniors you may be pretty excited to say goodbye to and some you will literally shed tears over. Either way, saying goodbye is part of the gig.
Goodbye to great volunteers
The end of the school year is also a time when volunteers start to think about what’s next. Small group leaders that finish with seniors might think about moving to another ministry. Life stage changes mess with availability and commitments, and parting ways with your student ministry might be part of that evolution.
Goodbye to great members of the staff
This is the toughest – sometimes people on your church staff transition, too. This isn’t always a bad thing! Could be a great promotion, a clear calling from God, a chance to take a step of faith to whatever it is that God has next.
Of course, remember that the end doesn’t have to be the end. The relationships you build with students, volunteers and staff can last way beyond the years where your paths intersect directly. Either way, youth workers who come to terms with having to say goodbye is wise.