We’re well into graduation season when we give honor to those crossing important educational milestones. Many churches rightfully set aside time to honor graduates. Such an exciting and important transition time!
Not taking anything away from the significance of these rites of passage, we still can’t help but wonder, “What if?”
What if … we annually also picked a day to honor and challenge adults who—in the past year—became first-time grandparents, empty nesters, or retirees? Just as we celebrate new beginnings through ‘commencement’ addresses, what if churches deliberately reinforced new kingdom potential on the other side of these significant milestones, too?
Consider the empty nest. As a standalone event, some view it as a depressing downturn. Instead of just highlighting the kids’ departure, an empty/quiet home and the future need for downsizing, how ‘bout accentuating new possibilities for hospitality and broader ministry mobility?
What if … we challenged new grandparents to not settle for the “can’t wait to spoil my grandchild” cliché and helped them blaze new trails to significant spiritual influence?
And what if … we heard compelling testimonies of new, God-implanted dreams from those vocationally retiring? Most are not falling off the earth’s edge into an abyss. God is still calling, and we need to hear these stories.
With backgrounds in higher education and as directors of YES!, Judy and I are often struck by similarities between college graduation and retirement. Celebrating past educational and vocational achievements is good, but it’s also incomplete if we don’t ask, “What’s next?”
Each transition deserves its own diploma. Not just sentimental wall hangings … but keys to help unlock new doors of opportunity.
Let’s do what we can to publicly champion and help shape new frontiers ahead, for both early and later-life milestones.
Thank you for being Young Enough to Serve Champions!