Here’s a letter that might be something good for you to steal and use in your ministry! Apparently I wrote it a few years ago (don’t remember it until it was discovered recently) and edited it for use this year again. Here you go:
WELCOME TO HSM
Over the last 15 years of working with high school students I’ve found that one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome is the transition from junior high to high school. For many students, they never get to experience all that our high school ministry offers because they don’t make it through the first year. I want you to know that it is my greatest desire to get your son/daughter involved in our ministry and want to help in whatever way I can.
When I talk to incoming 9th grade students about the transition into our ministry, I use these five key words: FEAR, FUN, FAITH, FINISH, and FRIENDS.
The transition from being the “big shot” in the junior high group to being the youngest in the high school group is scary. I want them to know that their feelings are natural and real. It is scary walking into a room of students who look older.
High school ministry is fun. We want people to have a good time when they come into our ministry. “Laughter” and “celebration” are two key words we use to describe this value of fun. Most students use the word “boring” when they describe church. Because of this, we attempt to shatter the stereotype that church is boring. You may hear of some wild things over the next four years and there’s a great chance that they were planned! (Although there is a small chance a few wild things will happen that unfortunately weren’t planned (like the time a student was attacked by a family of antelope in the Refinery. But that’s another story).
Our primary goal is to help your child mature in his/her faith. We have a defined strategy with quality programs that assist students in their spiritual growth. Our goal is the same goal God has for all Christians—to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. I want to emphasize the word “assist” because I know that one’s spiritual growth isn’t solely dependent our on our high school ministry. I believe with all my heart that we have some of the very best teaching, curriculum, Life Groups, practical growth tools, and missions opportunities that a church can offer. Any level student who genuinely wants to grow in his/her faith will be challenged here.
I want to see students finish their high school years strong in their faith. I had Wing Stop today with 2 of my favorite seniors and we reflected on the incredible 4-year journey they’ve been on. Our leadership team is affirmed when our graduating seniors have strong convictions about their faith, a lifestyle that reflects their convictions, and lifelong plans to serve God. Four years is a long time to stay involved in a youth ministry, but we know it serves as a foundation to finishing strong. We want our graduating seniors to have “sticky faith” that stays with them into and throughout their college years.
“Students become like the people they hang out with.” Even though students hate it when I say it, I’ve seen that truth played out thousands of times over the years. Almost everything in high school revolves around friends! To finish strong, good friends are vital.
Although we have over 1,000 high school students that are involved in our high school ministry, we also have many ways for it to “feel” small. Although there is no way I will everyone personally, everyone will be known by a caring adult who will play the role of “youth pastor” to your son or daughter. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help…if I can’t help, I can find someone who can.
I look forward to serving you – welcome to HSM!