We hold a graduation ceremony for grade 12 students every year. We give out gifts to every graduate but certificate of completion is given only to students who are baptized/confirmed and finished at least one Youth Bible Study.
Some might wonder, “Why not give the certificate to every graduating students?
Isn’t graduation ceremony about celebrating them getting older and moving onto the next chapter of their life?
We all know that no school will give a graduation certificate to a student who didn’t fulfill all the academic requirements in high school. Our graduation ceremony is not so different from regular school graduation. We intentionally set some requirements, not to penalize those who didn’t make those steps but to promote intentional growth for our youth.
Some think attending church is all there is to the Christian life. But we all know going to the gym doesn’t automatically make us fit or muscular. You need to make intentional progress in whatever workout you are doing. In the same way, Christian maturity is about making intentional next steps. No one can say “I’ve arrived” when it comes to the Christian life. Jesus didn’t say, “Come and stay where I am”. He said, “Follow me”. He is always on the move, and we are to make intentional steps at each phase of our spiritual journey to follow him.
So graduation ceremony in the church is simply about acknowledging students who’ve made intentional steps during their time in The Seed as a youth. That is why we give the certificate of completion to students who decided to receive Christ as their personal savior and Lord, to publicly profess their faith to their church community, and took the time to finish bible study for their spiritual growth. All these important steps were deliberately made. They didn’t just happen.
I hope the graduation ceremony will be a time of celebration of what graduating students have completed, not simply them getting older. Also for youth, hope this serves as a reminder of possible next steps they can take. Growth takes intentional effort but making a new step is more fun than staying where you are.