Last week, I had the joy of teaching a group of students who are about to graduate from an intensive, 9 month discipleship experience called OneLife. The program director invited me to help these students transition, and one of his hopes was that the students leave with confidence about their next steps (even in the unknown).
We covered a lot of ground in my few days with them, but the most important thing I offered went beyond tips for transitions or practical advice on money management (crucial as these are).
If we want to help our students thrive in the transition, they need deep and timely reminders of God’s character and goodness. Dwelling on who God is (the same God yesterday, today and forever) and who we are because of him is what grounds us in life’s transitions.
This is the most important gift we can give.
At OneLife, we took time to reflect on the attributes of God as well as on our identity in Christ. I led the students through an activity that invited them to consider how they image God. Without even realizing it, our picture of God may be far from who he describes himself to be and who he reveals himself as in the person of Jesus.
For many years, I pictured God as a lightning-bold-throwing God, ready to reprimand me if I stepped out of line. I’ve also imaged him as a “carrot-dangling” God — a deity who tantalizes me with good gifts, but then quickly takes them away. I needed a new image.
I invited the students to select actual images (printed on card stock) that connected with them. I also asked them to reflect, journal and free write, using these two downloadable documents (below) as prompts.
Feel free to give these “gifts” to your students.
We cannot remove the chaos of transitional times, but we can offer our students a firm place to plant their feet.
We can remind them of a constant God for every dynamic time.
Be encouraged today! Erica
PS I’m no longer praying to my faulty abstracts of God. Thanks to all of the beautiful I AM statements in John’s gospel, I have new, rich, and right images of him.
PPS How do you help students grow in their understanding of God’s character and their identity in him? What practical resources do you use?
Believe it or not, graduation is almost upon us! Let’s make these weeks count, especially with our graduating seniors. Here’s an article (from the archives) to get us thinking about how to best serve seniors in their last stretch. Don’t forgot to pop back to the blog here to share about one way you plan to honor the college seniors on your campus!