Students who pass out from our EU fellowships march towards graduate’s ‘status’ every year!
They might be ‘freshers’ in Christ, though the academic world confers them with degrees and sends them out. Those who accept Jesus Christ in their last year, leave the EU groups without experiencing the richness of our fellowship and training.
Since our vision is to both ‘proclaim Christ’ and ‘make disciples’, we have the responsibility to nurture these young graduates who move out either as vibrant disciples or as new born babies.
How can we ensure that our graduates continue to grow in Christ, and take their place in Christ’s Kingdom?
Young graduates need help in their transition from student life to professional life. They need support in joining a local church. They move with a different circle of friends, quite different from the ‘EU fellowship on campus. They need help in getting involved in the life of supporting parents, finding life partner, marriage and children. They need guidance in finding the right job, dealing with relationship issues and stress in work place, skill in supervising others and developing professional skills.
More importantly, developing a Christian perspective on one’s own professional, ethical and moral standards, balancing work demands with family obligations, learning how to save and spend are also areas in which the young graduates struggle. They also need guidance in coming to terms with their ambitions and aspirations, understanding their emotions and applying their faith in their new context.
They need support in finding their role in the local church, how to respond to the needy world, witnessing for Christ in and through their profession and developing a rich devotional life.
Ideally, the local churches should pick up the nurturing roles which the EUs have provided on Campus. Unfortunately in many cases, the local churches are not able to provide this. Also young graduates are seen as ‘threat’ to the leadership of the local congregation.
Another extreme could be, the young graduates are loaded with, responsibilities in the Church – Committee, Choir, Sunday School and different activities and projects taking away the vibrancy in their spiritual lives.
In UESI graduates are the backbone of the ministry as the support from the churches is very minimal.
Hence nurturing of young graduates is not an option!
Although many graduates are passing out every year, the dropout is alarmingly high, indicating that the young graduates need continued help. UESI can survive and sustain only if the graduates are encouraged and assisted.
So, the challenge before us is how to nurture the young graduates and enable them to blossom to their full potential in their personal, professional and community lives.
In UESI graduates are the backbone of the ministry as the support from the churches is very minimal. Hence nurturing of young graduates is not an option!
We need them because they know the student world better as they are just out of the college. They appreciate and value UESI as they have personally benefitted from the ministry of EU on campus. They also know students who are in the EU groups and can easily relate with them. They have skills which can be used for nurturing the student groups. They have money and they are our potential supporters for UESI ministry in the days to come.
This calls for our EGF’s groups to be centers of spiritual nurture which will prepare these young graduates to face the world.
The challenges are many and each group has to find and adopt ways which will nurture the young graduates. This needs patience and sacrifice. Let us remember Apostle Paul’s words to Titus, “Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned . . .” (Titus 2:6-8) Senior graduates and staff have to invest their time and talent in the young graduates who will be the pillars of UESI tomorrow!