Best, New Ideas for A Graduation Sunday Sermon

Graduation Sunday is a great day to celebrate all of the high school and college graduates at your church. It is a great way of honoring them and showing them that you are proud of all of their hard work. A difficult part of graduation Sunday is figuring out hope to preach a graduation Sunday sermon. 

Of course, you want to give a message to encourage the graduates in their next season of life, but you don’t want to be too niche. If you are too niche, the other congregants might not be able to apply the message as easily. 

You want to speak to the young people, but you want to include everyone else. Crafting graduation sermons is no easy task, but there is a way to give a graduation message that isn’t alienating to the rest of the congregation. 

For this reason, we recommend on graduation Sunday, you preach on new seasons of life. That Sunday morning should be leading into the Summer semester of your church, so it is a great time to step back and remind the congregation to stay faithful in the next seasons. 

Although you don’t want to alienate the rest of the congregation, you should take time before your sermon to honor the graduates. Start by honoring the high school graduates. 

Give Encouragement to the High School Seniors 

For this portion of the service, you want to honor all of the high school graduates. You can bring them on stage or simply have them stand all across the room. Presenting them to the congregation is an honor for them and will make parents proud. 

Remind them that graduation day is a new beginning, not a bitter end. Mention that it might be scary to go off to college or to start working full-time, but that God is in control. Follow this up by telling them how proud you are and pray over them. 

At this point, you can have the graduates sit down, and you can move on to honoring the college graduates. 

Give Encouragement to the College Graduates

For college graduates, graduation might be more of a special event than it is for high school graduates. It is a time to celebrate the significant accomplishments of the graduates. 

The college graduates have been in school for more time than the high school graduates, so the college graduates have had to accomplish more things.

Similar to high schoolers, college graduates do have a lot of uncertainty coming into their lives. They might be unsure of where they are going to work or live, but this is your chance to encourage them of God’s sovereignty. Tell them that God is always in control and that you are proud of them for all they’ve accomplished. 

Conclude by praying for the college graduates and having them return to their seats. 

​Give the Graduates Graduation gifts 

As a side note, I recommend presenting the graduates with a graduation gift. Ultimately, what you give them comes down to your church budget, so you can make the selection. 

Some good ideas that I’ve seen for graduation gifts are:

  1. Bibles 
  2. Starbucks Gift Cards
  3. Ramen 
  4. A hand-written letter

You can even put all of these things in a gift bag and present it to the graduates. 

Overview of A Good Sermon Topic for Graduation Sunday 

At this point in the service, you should transition into the sermon for the day, however, the sermon should center around “new seasons of life.”

Focusing on new seasons of life will make the message not just applicable to the graduates, but to the entire congregation. 

Tell a Story of a Time You Went into A New Season of Life

Starting with a story from your own experience is a great way to connect with your audience. Everyone in the audience has gone from one season of life to another, so they should be able to relate to you on this topic. 

Here are some ideas that you can use for a story about entering a new season of life:

  1. Your Own Graduation
  2. Moving from one job to another
  3. Moving from dating to married 
  4. Having your first kid
  5. Moving out of your parent’s house

In the story, focus on any uncertainty that you had. You may have been worried or stressed about what was going to happen. Tell the audience about it. 

Towards the end of the story, tell the congregation how you overcame the fear. What did you do to help assist yourself into the new season? Was it a good way of entering the new season or a bad way? All of these things should be topics that you cover within your story.

After this, you will connect with the audience by asking them to recall a time when they were entering a new season of life. 

Tell the Congregation That Everyone’s Experienced This

Part of telling the story was to get the audience to relate to you. Remind them that everyone has been through a transition in their seasons of life. 

You can give more examples of what transitioning a season of life looks like. If you didn’t use an idea from the previous list of ideas for your story, use them as examples for their lives. 

Once the congregants can relate, move on to a scripture about God’s plan, even in the new seasons of life. 

A Reminder of the Great things that God has Planned 

Once you have built the tension of the worry of a new season, release it by speaking about God’s plan for their lives. They might be able to recall a time in their lives when they were worried about the next season of life, but the Bible speaks to that. 

You can use Jeremiah 29:11 as a reminder of the good things that God has planned for their lives. “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Show the congregation that God’s plan is for good things and not bad things. 

Another verse that you can use is from the Old Testament book of Isaiah. It says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19.

The good news is that God has a plan for our physical well-being, as well as our spiritual growth. It might seem like things are uncertain, but God is in control. Congregants should know that.

Make an example of Abraham

Abram was about 75 years old when God called him into a new season. For Abram, it would have meant uncertainty and maybe even worry. 

But, what can be observed in Genesis 12 is that Abram trusted God. He did what God told him to do, so God blessed him and grew his family. 

Show the congregation that this story means when we trust God, He takes care of them. 

 After these scriptures, and this story, you will move on to the next part of the sermon where you will give the audience some tips to help them in their next season of life. 

You can say, “It is clear that God’s plan is the best. Through Abraham’s story, we see that God’s plan is perfect. But what can we do to trust in God in the new seasons of life? I think there are a few things that we can do to walk in God’s plan for our lives in the new seasons. The first one is this…”

Lean on God’s Word 

A great way for the congregation to trust in God through uncertain seasons is to not lean on their own knowledge but to go to the Bible. The word of God is full of guidelines to help us every step of the way. So, remind the congregants that God’s word is there to help. 

A great verse to use for this portion is Proverbs 3:5. It says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Tell them that whenever they don’t know what to do, search God’s word for an answer. Society and friends are going to voice their opinions, but they are not as good as God’s word. 

That can be the first encouragement to the congregation, then you can move on to the next one, which is…

​Stay connected to the Local Church

What’s worse than walking into an uncertain season, is walking into an uncertain season, alone. It is for this reason that you should remind them that the local church is a great place to have community. 

Saying this might feel a bit self-serving, but speak to the high school graduates. Tell them, wherever they go to college, to make sure they find a Church family that will support them. 

If your church has a young adult ministry, tell the college-age people to get involved in the young adult services. Here, you can also make a push for people to serve in the kid’s ministry or youth group. 

Remind them that a great way to stay connected is to serve in God’s kingdom. A verse that can be used in this section is Matthew 6:33 where Christ Jesus says, “33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Once again reference that the only thing worse than walking through an uncertain season is to do it alone, so tell them to get connected to a small group or serving in a local church.

From here, you can move on to the final encouragement of… 

​Let your Light Shine

Part of walking into a new season is that there are new opportunities for people to share their faith. The graduates will have new friends with whom they can show the things of God. For congregants changing jobs, there will be new co-workers that they can do good deeds for. 

There is a verse in the New Testament that you can show the congregation to help them remember to live for God.

In Matthew 5:14 Jesus Christ said, “14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Jesus said that you are the light of the world and a city on a hill. Those two things are supposed to be beacons for people who are in darkness. 

Finally remind the audience that in the new season, there will be new opportunities to share their faith, so they should let their light shine for Jesus. They should continue to live righteously so that more people might have a relationship with God. 

Once you have completed this section, encourage the audience to…

Take the Next Step 

You covered a few different avenues for walking with God in uncertain seasons, Tell the audience to choose one and apply it to their lives. 

  • Lean on God’s Word
  • Stay Connected to a Local Church
  • Let your light shine

Close by reminding the audience that if they do these things, there might still be uncertainty but that the Holy Spirit will be there to guide and direct all of their steps.

Finish the service in prayer over the congregants and graduates. 

This is just one of the many sermon ideas that are on my blog. If you need any more ideas for sermons, check out our sermons for Veteran’s Day and Valentine’s Day