USA (MNN) — It’s that popular time of year when colleges are approaching what some call “pay-day” or as it’s known to others, graduation.
And as countless college students prepare for graduation and for the life that comes after, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Greg Jao shares some advice in four quick points.
I. Stop and take time to give thanks to God for the abundance of choices and blessings you’ve been given to serve with.
II. Wherever you end up, plug into a church. “Go not as consumers asking, ‘What do I get out of it’…but enter a local church as a servant. [Ask yourself,] ‘What can I contribute and how can I serve here?’” Jao shares.
III. Invest in a community through both the local church and the new people you’re meeting.
IV. Learn to manage your money now rather than later. “If you haven’t already, learn to give as part of your budget, because as tight as money is at the beginning, it never gets any easier and that discipline will carry on for a lifetime,” Jao explains.
Yet, graduation has a flip side; for students who have been serving with InterVarsity, the question might be, “How can I serve now?”
For starters, graduates can continue to mentor in relationships they started with younger students and new believers. They can also volunteer time to help with a weekend conference or retreat InterVarsity puts on, to name a few.
“Other recent graduates come and help with more. When I was a recent law school graduate, I actually went back and helped lead a small group where we were planting a new small group in a new dorm for a chapter,” Jao shares.
“And for a year or two, I actually led a chapter as a volunteer staff worker. So, all of those ways of being physically involved on campus are very welcome.”
However, for students who might not be able to get back on the college campuses, InterVarsity is always asking for prayers. Jao shares that recent alumni can find more ways to pray for InterVarsity by going to InterVarsity’s website and finding it’s intercessor page.
Another way college graduates can again team up with InterVarsity is by giving to the ministry of the school they were at. “It’s a great way to pay it forward, to give scholarships to help students get to camps or conferences or to support the ongoing work of that campus ministry,” Jao explains.
Living for Jesus
Still, regardless of where college graduates are headed, they all have one great thing in common which they can all use to serve God — and that’s their college degree.
“You have had more invested in you in terms of education, finances, and mentoring than 90 percent of the rest of the world will ever have. And so, what I always tell recent graduates is, you will either be the most self-absorbed, selfish generation in history — or you will be the best educated, best equipped, and more thoroughly invested potential servants for the Kingdom of God in the world,” Jao says.
“And I hope the Church gathers around these young people who are just graduating, [and] casts that vision for them. Because their work places, advertisers, and their friends will tell them, ‘This is your chance. Live your life and pursue your dreams.’ And only the Church can come around them and say, ‘There’s actually something bigger for you. It’s the life-giving, world-altering investment in the mission of God.’”
Will you join in praying for these soon-to-be graduates? Pray for these students to engage in their local churches as servants. Also, pray for them to stay deeply invested in their prayer and Bible study, and for wisdom in the choices they make post-graduation. Finally, pray for them to remain grounded as Christians who are the salt and light of this world.
For individuals who know a recent or soon-to-be college graduate, Jao recommends giving the book After College by Erica Young Reitz. Jao says it’s a fantastic guide in helping graduates make the transition from college into adulthood. Find the book here!