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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

News U Can Use: “Marketing Directly to Middle Year’s Smartphones”

"Nine-year-old Isabella Colello shops for just about everything online.

She scrolls through the Amazon app on her phone at least once a day. She gets ideas from YouTube, searches on Google for things she wants and sends the links to her dad: pink swimsuits, earrings, Adidas sneakers (he said yes); Gucci backpack (no).

“It’s like, I’ll put 18 items in my cart, and we’ll end up getting like one or two,” said Isabella, who lives in Sharpsville, Pa., and spends about $100 a month online. “It’s so much better than going to the mall because there aren’t that many places to shop anymore.”

Children and preteens are more connected to the Internet than ever, which means retailers are looking for new ways to market — and sell — directly to young shoppers on their phones, tablets and laptops. Gone are the days of blanket television ads, marketing experts say. Instead, companies are flocking to Snapchat, YouTube Kids and other mobile apps to reach children with personalized messages.

Nearly half of 10- to 12-year-olds have their own smartphones, according to Nielsen. By the time they’re teenagers, 95 percent of Americans have access to a smartphone.

“Kids are shopping on their phones and influencing much more of their families’ spending,” said Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation. “As a result, retailers are paying a lot more attention to pint-size customers.”

Back-to-school season is peak time for direct-to-kids marketing... “ 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Top 10: “Silver Bullets for Middle Years Youth Ministry and Beyond


We all want to know the "silver bullet"... the "secret sauce"... to youth ministry, even more specifically "middle years ministry"    

I have people ask me all the time about the "silver bullets" or "secret sauces".


I also hear and read just as much there is none, there are no bullets, sauces, and secrets. 


Well I think there is actually more than one there are a couple. After hanging around this youth ministry thing for awhile now and spending that last half of my youth ministry years working with 5th-8th graders.  I have noticed a couple things over and over again in other people's ministries (and my own). 

Here are at least TEN silver bullets...  


10.  Bible Teaching in Relevant, Real Ways. Cut the show and the fluff, stop trying to be the next _________ (insert your favorite speaker) and teach the Bible.  Notice I didn't use the word "preach", the word is teach!  Teach the always relevant truth in relevant ways that relate to real life of your students. (*see #4, below)


9.  A Great Team. You cannot do it alone.  You need other people filling in the gaps of your weaknesses and pushing your strengths farther. Your personality is not going to fit with every student so build a team with some people like you and a bunch of people not like you at all.


8. An Actual Love For and Personal Calling to Students.  Do not keep doing this thing, if you are looking at it as the old "stepping stone". Do not do this because someone said you had potential, do it because God called you! Please do not keep doing this if you don't like 5th-9th grade students or you have got to a point you do not like them anymore!


7. A Clear Vision and Direction. Know what you are doing and how you are doing it.  Be able to fully and clearly to explain it to everyone who asks.  If you are unprofessional and unorganized, your vision and direction will be unprofessional and unorganized and then your ministry will be too.


6. Communication.  See #7.  Tell everyone about what, when, where, who, and why all the time and in every way possible.  Information that Interests will turn into Involvement.


5. Relationships and Connection. Not friendship, but absolutely relationship.  Get to know students, their lives, families and NAME! Students will come back if they are know they are cared for, loved, and connected to you, your team, and other students.

Also, relationship and connections in your church with parents, staff, and members.  Find and build adult relationships and connections

4. Creativity and Willingness to Continue to Change.  You do not have to be personally creative, but be willing to let your ministry be creative (see #9) by finding other people who are AND/OR look around and find borrow and buy! With creativity comes the continual, ongoing, NEVER ending willingness to change.


3. Your Sr. Pastor.  Yep, them.  If you get them onboard and excited about what you are doing and what is coming on.  They will be your cheerleader, protector, and supporter!   You can not get very far, for very long, if they are not onboard (*see #7 & #6)


2. Parents! In the 5th-9th grade they are the ride, the wallet, the permission, and the life.  You want to do ministry, you have to be ministering to parents and families.  Get them on your team by getting them ON your team!  Parents make great leaders.  Like the Sr. Pastor they will be your cheerleader, protector and supporter!


1. God!! This is not the obvious answer or the go to #1 of the list because it has to be.  If your ministry is formed around a program, a curriculum, a church, fun, or YOU! It will fail at some point sooner or later.  If your ministry is formed around being successful and that is your focus, it will fail. Those things will become "god" instead of GOD!


Your want to know the silver bullet, it is God, but it is honestly not  on as many people's lists as you would think in reality.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Secret to Getting Pre-Teens to Worship (Rob Quinn)

For as long as I have been working with preteens the one question that never stops being asked is, “What is the secret to getting our preteens to worship?When I started I was no different, in fact I asked this very question to so many people and the response was usually the same, “When you find out PLEASE let me know.”  But I knew there had to be something, some secret that would help leaders to get preteens to participate in worship.

I never found out what the secret is, that’s because there isn't one. But I have learned  
a lot over the years about preteens which has changed my idea of how to get preteens to worship. I want you to know I am not a worship pastor, I don't play any instruments and I am the definition of glorious noise when I sing. But what I am is passionate about preteens and wanting them to own their personal walk and faith with Christ. I believe that teaching them how to worship is a huge step in that walk. 

Let start off by asking a question, why do preteens not like to worship? 

If you are new or been doing preteen ministry for awhile there is one thing you need to know about preteens that can really help you in ever part of preteen ministry. Preteens are beginning a phase of life that their peers are more important to them then anyone else. Up to this point parents have been the main source of influence in their lives, and that has come with unconditional love and acceptance. 

As kids get older and are entering into the preteen years friends, peers, social groups, and even you as leaders are becoming more of an influence. When it comes to worship the last thing they want do is look different or sound weird. They worry about what others think about them and don't want to be different or made fun of. This is normal for even us as adults. Have you ever looked around the main service during worship time and counted how many adults don't actually sing. Why would we think preteens are any different? 

How do we get them past this? 

I have found it beings with teaching them what worship is. How often do we actually teach on what worship is and why we worship? Preteens want to know and are capable of understanding why we worship. We need to teach them that worship is so much more than singing. 

The first time we did a series on worship was fueled by the fact we did not do any worship or singing with our preteens. Part of the reasoning was the space we were in, and the other was all I heard was preteens don't worship so why try. We decided to change that and figured what better way than to start then to teach them. After our four week series we had a 5th week where we took time to worship is different ways through worship stations. The results were astounding, we heard from parents and leaders and even the preteens them selves that this was so impactful for them. 

Right then we knew we were onto something, we need to teach them why we worship and that worship is more than singing. But things don't end there because now they know why we worship, and they have had this really cool experience, how do we keep this going? This is were your leaders come in, the small group leaders are a huge key to preteen worship. Remember when I said the people that have influence in preteens lives are changing, leaders are one of this influences. 

When it comes to worship time, the worship leader leads the music and the atmosphere and the experience. The small group leaders become the ones leading the preteens in worship. This is not a hit on worship leaders because they are a vital part in preteens worshiping. 

The small group leader sets the example for their students. Your preteens are going to look around as soon as the music starts. If all they see is the leaders in the room standing there, what do you think they are going to do?  If they see their leaders having fun with the praise songs, getting lost with reflection songs, they begin follow. 


I would love to tell you there is a secret to getting preteens to worship but their really isn’t. Every preteen ministry is different, and every year your preteen ministry will be different. We begin by teaching them and then putting leaders in their lives to model it. We make sure what we are teaching them and showing them is real and authentic. With these things we are allowing them to learn and see and feel what worship is. Giving them the start to owning their walk with Jesus and how they can worship Him.
_______________________


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