You suffer through it every year with a sense of guilt, frustration, and pressure. May is notorious for what I like to call the “Senior Slump”. The senior slump is the presence, or lack thereof, of seniors who are slacking off on their commitment to just about every aspect of youth group. Prom. Studying for finals. Last-minute college applications. Preparing for graduation. Let’s face it, in light of all these big events, youth group tends to take a back seat.
“It is what it is.”
Those five words have become enormously significant to me recently. I don’t use that phrase out of frustration or desperation. It’s not a sarcastic or snarky excuse. But what I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes it is what it is and there’s not a lot we can (should?) do about it. So instead of fighting the realities of senior slackers, wringing your hands and straining your minds for ways to keep them involved at a high level during one of the busiest seasons of their young lives, I’d encourage you to embrace that it is what it is and leverage it. Minister to your senior slackers in some unique ways for this 5-6 week season.
Here are a few ideas:
Create a study hall environment in your church or youth room. Set up tables, provide snacks and tutors, have a “study friendly” playlist in the background. Encourage your seniors to invite their friends. Since they are stressed about finals, don’t try to convince them they shouldn’t be. Don’t hope they will ditch their studies to be at small group. Instead, leverage the importance of finals to your benefit!
Set up a few creative spots for students to take pictures at your church. Provide free photographers as well as coffee for the parents. We do this every year at our church and we are shocked at how many groups of prom-goers show up to take their pictures at our church.
Post-Prom Pancake Breakfast
Give students a fun reason to crawl out of bed on the Sunday morning after prom! Provide a free pancake breakfast before church. Students who show up in their prom dress or suit get entered into a fun drawing of some sort.
Preparing For College Seminar
Host a special evening for parents and students who are heading off to college in the fall. Cover topics such as: creative financing for college, how to handle roommate conflict, how to decide if a college is right for you, etc.
Target your seniors for fun, encouraging Instagram posts, texts, and tweets during this season. Let them know you are praying for them, find or create funny memes that relate to finals, remind them to be safe at prom, etc.
During the senior slump there will always be slacking seniors. It is what it is. And because of this, it’s a natural time to minister to them in some fun, creative ways.
Thanks for loving students,