Every congregation I have served has recognized students when they graduate from high school. In most cases this recognition has included both formal recognition in a Sunday morning worship service (or services) along with a more personalized celebration in the context of youth ministry. As these new graduates prepare to transition from the youth ministry (those devised for students in middle school and high school) into a college or young adult ministry, youth ministry leaders should consider capturing feedback about their experiences via an exit interview.
Josh Griffin, High School Pastor at Saddleback Church, recently shared a list of 11 questions that you might consider including in such an interview. Among them are
- How would you describe the “culture” of our youth group?
- What is something that the adult leaders could have done to help or support you more?
- What program/event did you benefit from the most? (Retreat, Overnighter, etc)
If you are serious about learning from those who have experienced your youth ministry program, then exit interviews are an excellent tool. If you don’t plan to really listen and then to use what you hear as you plan for the future, then it is best to keep your head in the sand and not ask for feedback.
- How does your congregation celebrate the milestone of high school graduation?
- Is an exit interview, survey, or similar feedback tool a part of the transition from high school ministry into whatever ministry your congregation offers next? If so, explain what is currently done. If not, would you recommend such be added?