What do you give your grads?  

This is the age old question.  What should you get your grads?  There are tons of different things you could get them from walking sticks to Bibles.  It seems that almost every day on a youth pastor Facebook group grad gifts ideas are posted.  That is how you know it’s that time of year.  The time of year when we move students on.  Move them out of our miniseries, and on to what’s next.

What is next for your grads?  If you don’t know the answer to that question you should spend sometime wrestling with it.  Is the goal for your grade 12’s to attend Bible College for a year?  Is it serving in your youth ministry?  Is it serving in the church?  What is the ideal reality that you want your grads doing?  What is a win for your grads?

Andy Stanley explains how to understand a win, “Clarifying the win simply means communicating to your team what is really important and what really matters. It includes asking certain questions, rewarding an individual’s performance and celebrating significant outcomes.”  What do you communicate to your leaders and students as to what a win is?  In my youth ministry environment a win is when a student takes a year to build a Biblical foundation at Bible College.  A win is when a student (grade 8-12) becomes a leader in our ministry.  Andy Stanley shows how most churches have no clue what a win is, “Most churches do not have a reliable system for measuring what success looks like at every level of the organization. Instead, they post general statistics that give them a vague sense of progress or failure and go through the motions of continuing to do ministry the way they always have. Thus, it is possible for a church to become very efficient at doing ministry ineffectively.”

In my ministry context, I want to make sure that we know what is a win.  This is just two of the many wins we are working on.  When this happens we celebrate them.  We are thankful that students are desiring to build a foundation, and to lead alongside us in our ministry.  They grasp the gospel and want to be apart of it.

Here are 5 awesome things that grads would love: 

Snapbacks –  Honestly, who doesn’t love swag?

Prodigal God by Timothy Keller – One of the best books I have read in the past 5 years.  This is a must read for anyone, especially grads.  Why not get them a book that will help your graduating student know what the gospel is, and how to articulate it well as they head into college life.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper – “Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. This book will warn you not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing. It will challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God your singular passion. If you believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, read this book, learn to live for Christ, and don’t waste your life!”

Principal of the Path – You won’t find a clearer communicator than Andy Stanley.  If your grads have no idea or direction in life this is the book.  “The principle of the path is at work in your life every single day. Onceembraced, this compelling principle will empower you to identify and follow the path that leads to your desired destination. And this same principle will enable you to avoid life-wasting detours along the way.”

ESV Student Bible –  We reviewed this Bible a few months ago and it has steadily become our go to Bible.  You can check out the full review here.  This is hands down the best student Bible we have ever seen.


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