Student Ministry Graduation Gifts

If you are involved in working with teens at all in a ministry context (or just have a neighbor who happens to have teens), this time of yea can be filled with the mind-warping question of “How do I honor said graduate(s)?” If you are like me you are in a position where you are honoring around 20 or so graduates, and to do much gifting can get expensive. Cash is so impersonal, books will sit on the shelf unread (I love to read and I have a half-dozen as-yet-unread books on my shelf… and I am 8 years removed from my high school graduation), and the latest Interlinc ConGRADulations CD just seems… empty somehow, bereft of any music that your teens really enjoy.

So what do you do? You want to give your teens something to encourage them as they step out into the next phase of their life, but you want it to be something that you know they will use.

Never fear, here are a couple of ideas that I have used over the years! (They are just a tad late for this year Sorry).

  • Breakfast. In the past, we worked with a church that honored its graduates by having the underclassmen cook the seniors and their families breakfast. Our program during breakfast was an opportunity to have the seniors share their plans for the next chapter of their life. Good short-term, but I was not able to gauge the long-term effects on our graduates’ faith.
  • Teaching. I have also put together CD’s for our graduating class that included PDF copies of our entire year’s worth of teaching, as well as a tribute video to them. Great idea for the seniors to look back at ad refresh themselves on, but the last time I did this less than half of our graduating class had bee to more than half of our times that included these teachings. I suspect the tribute video was used the most in this case.
  • Music. This year we tried something different. I gave each senior a card with 8 different artists that I knew the majority of our group listened to (at least one or two of the artists anyway). The idea was to have each senior select a CD from the list and we would purchase it for them. This would hopefully ensure two things. One, that the senior would actually use their gift and enjoy it, and Two, that it would help to keep the student pointed toward God (especially those few who are attending schools more known for their party reputation than for their education).

So there are a few ideas from my brain. What do you do for your graduates?