Getting Ready for Something New

For the last year we have struggled with our “combined” program. We’ve seen an increase of middle school students and a decrease in our high school. I recognized the need for separation but didn’t have the means by which to make a healthy and successful split. So I committed to pray, asking God to show us the time when a split would be right.

I now believe the “right” time has come. Thanks to a recent decision to make changes within the school district, we will launch a new middle school ministry this September.

I’m excited by this for many reasons. The last three years (almost 4) have been a series of ups and downs. Transition is hard when you follow someone who is the 180-opposite of who you are. But we are finally coming to a place where our current students know the ministry within the context of my leadership. It has become a much younger group made up of a handful of high school students and a whole lot of junior high students. Come September, the number of high school students will significantly change, almost doubling our current numbers. The best part is, these students will only know Crossroads with me in the lead position.

April will come with significant change and adjustment. Our new church building should be completed in just a few weeks. April 10, has been designated as our first worship service in the new space. It will also be the first night of Crossroads in the new space. AND, it will be the night we welcome the incoming middle school students. Along with the change of numbers in the high school ministry, we stand to welcome as many as 30 new 6th and 7th graders from our Children’s Ministry.

Suddenly we have the opportunity to do something brand new. While nothing will change immediately, the fall will bring a new Middle School Ministry. Since we currently do not have “middle school” ministry, we are able to create something that has never been done before.

So here’s my question, “What do you DO, with your middle school ministry?”

Yeah, I know what it should be; I get the youth group thing. What I’m looking for is what you’ve done to create a new ministry? What pitfalls should I watch out for when starting new? What helpful advice would you give? How have you been innovative and original? What have you done to make the transition from children’s ministry to middle school ministry something that feels natural for the student?

I have lots of ideas for this new program. But I am interested in hear what others have done, so please comment below. Thanks.

– jay

One thought on “Getting Ready for Something New

  1. Our middle school ministry is just over a year old now, and it is such an important part of our church. Right from the start I wanted to give our middle schoolers the opportunity to step up and lead. I know it can be somewhat risky to do this, but it is well worth it. We have middle schoolers lead in worship, run tech stuff, etc. This gives them ownership of the ministry and leadership. I know a lot of our students wouldn’t feel comfortable stepping up and leading if they were together with the high schoolers and our students like seeing their friends leading from the stage.

    Some of the things that you need to keep in mind is that the parents of the middle schoolers (especially the 6th graders) are still very protective. They want to be kept well informed. It is so important that you build good relationships with those parents so that they trust you and feel good about sending their student into the middle school ministry.

    Also, you have to go back to your middle school days every once in a while to remind yourself of what it’s like. When I do this it makes me remember what’s going on in our students lives a little more. This helps me be able to teach them better because I think about what they need to know.

    I have done a couple of things to help make the transition a little easier. Our children’s pastor does a weekend for our 5th graders every spring and my wife and I have gone as a chaperone to get to know those students a little better. Also, I have gone to our summer children’s camp to get to know the 5th graders. This year I am going to try something new in August after the move up called Base Camp. The students will come on Friday night to play games, get to know me and some other volunteers, and to learn a little more about our middle school ministry. On Saturday morning the students will head off to go bowling with a volunteer while the parents come in and I talk with the parents about some of the things they can expect over the next few years with their middle schooler and what our middle school ministry is about.

    I know that this is a ton of information, but I hope that it will be helpful to you. I will be praying for you as you begin this new transition.


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