The Middle Years Ministry

Formerly "The JH Uth Guy", THE MIDDLE YEARS MINISTRY is a Site Dedicated to Providing Resources, Ideas, and Help to Pastors, Leader, Directors, Teachers, Mentors and Anyone Else Working in
the
Pivotal and Important 5th-9th Grade Years. The “Middle Years” are not children’s ministry, not high school ministry, and are more than just Middle School/Jr. High. It is a unique and specialized ministry, where the final lifelong faith decision are made.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

“Does Your Church Get Why Pre-Teen Ministry Matters?" (Rob Quinn)

I know every age group matters in the church, so please don't beat me up over this one. I am asking this question to see if your church leadership understands just how important it is that we intentionally minister to our preteens? Lets assume that most children’s pastors, youth pastors and next gen. pastors already understand this. 

How do we get church leadership above us to understand this and make it a priority?

I recently participated in a retreat with a group of long time preteen pastors and leaders and this very topic came up. How do we get church leadership to see preteens as a stand alone ministry? Think about it this way, in just about every church there will be a children's ministry encompassing birth thru elementary ages and a youth ministry, encompassing middle school and high school ages. This is what seems to be the normal ministry makeup for churches. But think about it this way, what if the normal was to have children's ministry and youth ministries but also a dedicated preteen ministry?

This is only going to happen if we can cast vision to help the leadership of churches to begin to understand just how important this age group is to the life of the church. To start casting this vision, we need to become champions for preteens in our churches. CM and YM pastors and leaders need to work together to champion that this age matters. Our CM and YM team members that already have a seat at the leadership table, already have a voice in the room, now need to come together and talk about how preteens need their own voice.

Once the champions are ready, they need to know where to begin. The first step in every change and movement needs us define the WHY behind the WHAT. This is where the hard work comes in. Going in and just telling others “Hey, we think this is important!” but giving them the WHY it is important just isn’t going to work.

We use the term “vision casting” a lot in church. Vision Casting is where the WHY comes into play. What vision do you have for your preteen ministry and how does this vision affect the church? Vision will be different for every church because every church is different. I would not expect a church with 50 preteens to have the vision as a church with 10 preteens. Also, since your vision should be in line with your church vision, that can also make them different. If you don’t have a vision for our preteen ministry, that is the place to start.

Once the vision has been set, you can start to educate your leadership. Begin to educate them on who preteens are, how they are changing, how they are starting to ask questions. Preteens want to learn more in the way that they want to really understand. They are capable of understanding more and taking things that were surface knowledge and really owning and believing it. Also, walk leaders through how this preteen age is statistically the most important stage/phase of a child's spiritual journey.

  • A survey by the International Bible Society -- indicated that 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, 
  • The Barna Research Group surveys says American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 4% probability of doing so. 

So, where do we even start? Begin meeting with your leadership and getting the conversation going. Help them connect with some of the amazing preteen ministries already out there that are thriving. Remind them they were all once preteens long ago, and the preteens today are the future leaders of the church. Start to make your church leadership champions for preteens also.

The idea of making preteen ministry the normal in every church is something that does not just happen, we need to do a few things. We need champions for our preteens, casting vision, leaders that understand and believe in the future of the church, and most of all prayer. 

____________________


Rob Quinn has over 10 years of experience in preteen and middle school ministry and feels these stages of life for kids are the turning point for ones walk with Christ. He is a curriculum and game writer for PreteenMinistry.net and is also part of the FourFiveSix team at fourfivesix.org. Check out the new Facebook page to connect with other preteen ministry leaders in this community. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/456community/)


Rob also speaks at conferences and retreats, if you are looking for someone to speak to kids, parents or leaders you can connect with him at firertq@gmail.com or on Facebook

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