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Rocket Launching 101

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“If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be who I am.” These are the words a parent loves to here, except the kid who said them to me wasn’t my son. The student who shared these kind words with me, and many others, is a student I’ve been ministering to for the past six years.

Over the past six years his family got divorced and became a hot, contentious mess. Recently, his grandfather passed away.  He was the Pastor of a local church that allowed our church to use their facility after a tornado took our church. After his passing, his son took over the church (the students uncle) and recently expressed to his nephew he’d  like him to join in in some kind of ministry capacity.

I can’t be surprise or shocked, I expected it. This young man and I had many conversations about ministry and  I gave him plenty of opportunities to serve and Voila! The rocket launched.

It’s graduation season and parents and youth workers share a common goal, to launch kids well and there is a  process for launching rockets that both parents and youth workers can follow.

We’re building rockets in our youth rooms

We are spiritual rocket scientists partnering with parents to help launch young people into the world. In the case of the young man I was ministering to, it took six years, but that young man finally launched.

Building a model rocket is not necessarily the hard part. It comes with instructions and you need some glue, tape, stickers, etc. With spiritual rockers, aka students, there are many hands involved, primarily a parents hands, along with teachers, youth pastors, bosses etc. Scripture shows us how to disciple young people, impart wisdom, and gives us examples of great leaders and how they became great.

According to WikkiHow there’s a proper way to launch a rocket and we can learn from this process

Find a field long and wide – Expand your ministry so kids can use their gifts and talents in a variety of ways and not just in ways that we enjoy or are comfortable with.

Set the launch pad in the center of the field – Level the playing field and give every kid a chance to lead so they’ll have a chance to launch.

Load the motor – The Holy Spirt is the motor. There is no launch without Him. “You can do nothing with out me” John 15:5 Make sure you offer students Jesus early and often. Leave nothing to chance.

Recovery System – Not all launches go as planned. If a kid launches too soon (leaving the church) or heads for the trees, you want to be able to bring him or her back and try again. Make room for a re-launch.

Place the Igniter – What will spark this launch? Who knows, ever kid is different. What fires up one kid will not fire up another. We need to look for the igniters, the things that fire kids up and get them actively using the gifts God has given them for His glory.

Connect the Clips  –  Put in place the method for a launching which include ministry opportunities, time in mentoring, time in prayer, etc. Make a discipleship checklist so you don’t miss a step or try to fire off a rocket before its time.

Step Back – We can’t do it all. There has to be a time of separation where a students grows in the dark, so to speak, and learns to follow the leading of the Spirit. Besides, stepping back gives you the view of the launch.

Begin the countdown – If all things are connected and the prep work has been done, start the countdown to launch somewhere around their junior year.

Hit the launch button – Prepare a graduation service that honors these students and their commitment to your youth ministry. If you’re looking for ideas on planning a graduation service, graduation gifts, etc then sign up for my newsletter and get the Launch Well: Graduating Your Seniors with Class

My friends asked me if I was sad when my daughter graduated from college and moved to another state for job. I told them, “No, I’m not sad, I’ve been building a rocket in my house for 19 years, it would be shame not to see it launch.”

Whether we’re parents or youth pastors, the process is similar. Our mindset is to launch and, if we have done our jobs, the outcome is the same, we get to see someone soar high and far into the sky and into the dreams and visions God has for them.

Are you looking for a cool graduation gift for your student(s)?

  • Offer a rocket as a gift to parents as a way to say, “Nice launch!”
  • Plan your graduation service around the theme of “Launching”
  • Have a rocket building night with just your seniors and actually launch their rockets.
  • Launch one rocket after service as a salute tour seniors complete with countdown.
  • Create a “Launch Well Basket” of goodies including gas cards, food cards, and some toys like this, this (but have students sign them) and this (finger rockets)

Get more ideas like this by subscribing to my newsletter and receive the Launching Well: Launching Your Senior Class In Style resource.

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