One of the biggest issues in the church is the dropout rate among those who are 18-24 years old. The years that our graduates are about to enter are among the most exciting, but they are also some of the most challenging. Staying strong and continuing to grow will be tougher than they can imagine. New freedoms bring new choices . . . and often very real consequences. They will not be able to do this alone.
In our ministry, we may have done an adequate job of providing students with opportunities to serve and to grow while they have been among us, but a real challenge I have seen is our ability to follow-up with our Seniors once they move on. While it is true that as they move on, we will have a new, young students move into our care that will require our full attention, it is also true that we will continue to care about our graduates and the unfolding story of God as it is woven into their life. I want us to do better at “holding up their arms” in the new battles that await them.
And so, some of our graduates chose one person, who is the same gender, several years older, a member at Fairlane, and who is not a family member to serve as a “mentor” for their first 80 days of college. 80 days is the average length of the first semester in college. These are among the most important days of a young persons life. There are not many other 80 day periods where they will face as many new choices, meet as many new people, or make as many key decisions that will affect not just their life, but also the generations that follow them.
These 80 day mentors have agreed to the following:
- They will pray for their student weekly by name during these first 80 days.
- They will call, e-mail or write their student once a week.
- They will get with their student at least once during this time (if at all possible) to talk about how you are making this transition.
- They will encourage and even assist their student as they seek a church to be a part of.
- They will help them find a ministry to be a part of.
- They will encourage them to not just “warm a pew” once a week, but be involved.
Thank you to our 80 day mentors: Gail, Joan, Elizabeth, Grant, Betty & Renee!