10 Questions to Ask Seniors

When a person leaves a business, the HR department often has an exit interview with the employee. Employers engage in such interviews to gain information on how they may improve the care of their people.  This also allows for the transfer of knowledge to successors.

It seems to me that we miss a huge learning opportunity when we simply graduate seniors without taking the time to sit down with them individually or in small groups (no bigger than 3) to ask some intentional questions.

Here are some of my favorite “exit interview” questions to ask seniors:

1.  Why are YOU a Christian?

I want to hear their own personal apologetic of why they personally have chosen to follow Jesus and what being a Christian means to them.

2.  Why are you a CHRISTIAN?

I want to get a feel for the level of confidence they have in the truth claims of scripture.   I want to hear the level of confidence and clarity they have of the distinctives of Christianity and Jesus’ claims.  Why are they a Christian and not an atheist or Buddhist or Jehovah Witness, etc?

3.  What is the Gospel?

If students are not leaving with clarity of the gospel then we have failed.  All the teaching, retreats, lock-ins, service projects, fundraisers, small group gatherings, superbowl parties…were all in vain.   Even if a student has chosen not to follow Christ you’d still hope that, from being connected to your church’s student ministry, they understand what they have chosen to reject.

5.  What significance do the scriptures currently play in your life?  Prayer?

I want to know if this student has become one who has a love for the scripture and become a self-feeder.  I  am also listening for their understanding and practice of what it means to have a conversation with God through prayer.

6.  Who have been the people in our church that have helped you most discover what it means to walk with Jesus?

I love when my name is not one of the names a students mentions.  My hope is that they’ll name their parents and one or two other adults from the church.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing if they do mention me, and it is always humbling to know that God used me to help someone see Jesus more clearly.  But our Ephesians 4:12-13 success is hearing the names of others we’ve intentionally equipped to overflow their love for Jesus into the life of a student.

7.  When do you feel your faith really became your own?

I love hearing these stories.  I’m always surprised.  One of the reasons I continued to take students to Challenge was because in our exit interviews.  I often heard them say it was at Challenge that they felt their faith became their own.  We did lots of mission trips and some other creative things and therefore it was good for me to hear how God was using a specific tool in the lives of teens.

8.  What were times of major doubt through high school?  What doubts do you currently have?

I want to affirm it’s OK to have doubts but I also want to know how I can pray for them, encourage them and track with them their first semester of college.

9.  Is there anything you feel our church family could have done that would have been more helpful to you in your pursuit of God?   

Put your big boy (or girl) pants on and just listen.   These students may have great ideas for some tweaks in your ministry.

10.  Are there any relationships that need reconciled before you step out of here this fall?

Obviously, forgiveness is freeing.   When your students think of your church, you don’t want a broken relationship blurring their vision.  It’s at least worth the ask.

Similarities in students’ answers will help to identify some great strengths of your ministry that you can thank God for and a few areas areas you may want to adjust.

(Note:  If you have a large group you can involve others in these interviews.   Meet students at a coffeeshop and have fun with it.)

What questions would you add?

Image:  Danilo Rizzuti

About Shane Stacey

Shane is the national director of ReachStudents, the youth ministry arm of the EFCA. He lives with his wife and three children in Minneapolis, Minn.

Posted on March 26, 2012, in Grade Transitions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. We always do an exit interview with our seniors (combined with a nice lunch to celebrate graduation)… but there are some great questions here to add to my list! Thanks, Shane.

  2. Jennifer, glad to hear it. Would love to hear any questions you like to ask during those times. Do you do it as a large group then rather than individually or in pairs?

  3. Why did I not have this when I was in youth ministry? I did a lame version of this, but I love this so much. Great words Shane!

  4. These are really great questions, Shane. Thank you for sharing this to sharpen all of us a little more. Lots of blessings – see you soon.

  5. A insightful post there mate . Thanks for the post !

  6. With Bryce graduating this year, I will be asking him these questions. I love this idea and will be passing it on to our Student minister.

    Thanks for the post Shane!

  1. Pingback: Five Hot Posts from 2012 « ReachStudents Blog

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