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Create a Culture of Invitation in Your Preteen Ministry

Here are four ways you can create a culture of invitation in your preteen ministry.


Anticipating and welcoming preteens’ friends into our church is a huge part of leading preteen ministry. We want to be ready for guests, and we can intentionally equip and empower preteens to be an integral part of the process. No matter where preteens are in their faith journey, we strive to point them to a relationship with Jesus. Here’s how we can do that with guests.

Create a Culture of Invitation in Your Preteen Ministry

We train regularly attending preteens.

Reaching people who don’t know Jesus is very relational. That’s why we consistently weave what we call the 3Ds into our teaching. We train preteens to:

  • Develop friendships. (Get to know people who don’t know Jesus.)
  • Discover stories. (Don’t only talk about yourself. Ask questions and listen.)
  • Discern the next steps. (Don’t follow a formula. Look for opportunities to share the truth you know about Jesus when it fits the conversation.)

We pray.

We’re focused on prayer. We pray for our kids, those who’ve already visited our church, and those who’ll come in the future.

We have a greeting room.

When preteens bring friends, they introduce them to volunteers in a greeting room. We call this the “candy room” because guests get to fill a container with an assortment of candy they choose. This is a fun surprise for kids, and it gives us a chance to welcome preteens, learn their names, and help them feel comfortable.

We follow up.

In our greeting room, we ask for contact information so we can call, write, or even hold a group lunch with families to say thanks for coming to our church. Because kids can be so integral in where their parents go, a follow-up can be an inroad for an entire family who doesn’t normally attend church.

We have “Bring a Friend Night.”

We make regular programming special by designating a day every month or two to be “Bring a Friend Night” (or day). This reminds our preteens to bring friends without the pressure of thinking they always need to bring a new friend every week.

When we’re prepared and we treat sharing faith as a natural and relationship-based process, we equip and empower preteens to take responsibility for telling others about Jesus.

A headshot of Brandon Early.Brandon Early is director of student ministries at Valley Church in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Looking for more preteen ideas? Check out these posts!


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