“Why can’t you just get a list of alumni, and connect them after graduation?” This question has been asked in many forms. The answer is always the same.
It doesn’t work!
If our first contact is after alumni graduate, the relationship never gets off the ground.
We have to establish the relationship with alumni during their final months at school. We are not a college ministry, yet, we must lay the foundation for a solid friendship before graduation.
Starting in September, we began hosting Bible studies for seniors in our home, during which time we discuss Alumni Connect. We collect contact information, and reach out to each person to get to know them through one-on-one conversations.
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve met with over fifteen different soon-to-be alumni. Whether it’s over lunch or just a cup of coffee, we focus on a number of things.
- We learn more about them, their background, family, challenges, and next steps with the interview process as they hunt for jobs. What type of job are they looking for? How can we pray for them?
- We share from our own lives—what we’ve learned about walking with God in our jobs, navigating dating and engagement, the joys and struggles of our first entry level position and why we even started Alumni Connect.
- We encourage them about this new chapter in their lives. We want them to see the value they bring as a follower of Christ, and how work allows them to love their neighbor through their own unique God-given skills.
In short, we begin building a relationship through listening to their unique story, and sharing from our own.
This is what builds a foundation. This is what starts a friendship. This is why alumni trust us to connect them with a mentor when they move.
As we meet with alumni in the coming weeks, pray God would be at work through each of our conversations. Pray a strong foundation would be built as we share, learn and encourage.