Over the last three weeks 290,000 young adults will have gladly set aside the demands of contemporary fashion, for one day anyway, and willingly dressed up in robes not substantially changed since medieval times.
Not so much a rite of passage – more like a big birthday – graduation nevertheless marks one of the most abrupt and significant transitions of modern life.
Around 225,000 of those graduates will enter the job market now. Between 6,750 and 11,250 (3-5%) of them will be Christians: young people who have come through the individualistic, morally and intellectually relativist, pluralist, hard-working, and, statistically, increasingly mentally depressive waters of contemporary academe, with their love of Jesus still burning. Praise God for every one of them. And all those who helped sustain them.
Now the question is this: are they ready for full-time work, for the next phase of fruitful service in God’s mission?
- Do they have a biblical understanding of why work matters to God? Or why
their particular work – dream job or stop-gap – matters to God?
- Do they have a compelling vision for their new role in God’s mission?
- Are they ready for the shift to the modernist, multi-generational, relationally thinner, high-accountability culture of most workplaces?
- Has their home/student church offered teaching, prayer, commissioning, mentoring for this next stage?
What’s your experience? What’s your hunch? My hunch is that if we want to change Britain’s culture, we’ll need to change ours. Marriage prep is increasingly embedded in church culture, but ‘work prep’?
Of course, some students emerge work-ready, like Daniel from Imperial College Babylon, not only excelling academically but seeing their studies and their future work through the lens of a vibrant trust in the living God and his deeper wisdom (Daniel 1). And no doubt many of these young Christians successfully embraced the good in ‘uni’ culture without compromising the call to holiness and justice and humility (Daniel 1 and 3) – experience that will serve them well in the workplace.
Still, by the time these Christian graduates reach the age of 30 the percentage engaged in church life will, on current trends, have shrunk to 1.7% – around 3,800.
So, I wonder, what might we do for just one graduate that we know? A card, a commitment to pray monthly, a book, a link, the offer – if they’re going into a field we know about – to chat over a coffee? Or maybe just ask them – they’re graduates after all.