Preteen ministers are poised at the precipice of what’s next for kids. You have the tremendous opportunity to lead these graduating preteens in anticipation of the wonderful things God has in store for them in youth group. Give them a vision of how God can use them. Entice them with the excitement of how amazing youth group will be. Paint the picture of hope and fulfillment that only God can provide.
Use these four ideas to help your preteens bridge from children’s ministry to youth ministry.
- Mark the milestone. Make a big deal with kids and their families of moving from childhood to adolescence. Speak into family’s lives and hold an all-church celebration with Family Faith Celebrations: Preteen Passage. You’ll be able to equip families and celebrate with your entire church with this helpful resource.
- Start early. Bridging from children’s ministry to youth ministry isn’t a one-time event. Hopefully, you’ve spent the entire year introducing your kids to your youth minister. If you haven’t, start now. Have your youth minister come to your venue and just spend time with kids, then come back and lead part of your program the next time. Then take your kids to a youth group time to just hang out for awhile. The next time, let them stay the entire time. This way when it’s time for them to move on, they won’t feel quite so strange.
- Buddy up. Partner your preteens with kids in the youth group who’ll take them under their wing–especially in the beginning–and notice if they happen to go AWOL. These older kids can answer any questions and pull preteens into the group.
- Be sensitive but firm. Some of your preteens, after graduating from your children’s ministry, will all of a sudden develop a strong desire to serve in the children’s ministry. Sound techs, anyone? That’s fine if they’re also plugged into the youth group. But if they’re not, they might be avoiding making the transition. Partner with the youth minister to figure out how these kids can make the transition–and perhaps serve as well.
What else have you done to help preteens bridge from children’s ministry to youth ministry?