How and why did preteens come to be separated out from the children's ministry?
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Introduction: In recent years, there has been a rise in preteen ministries. The preteen years are an in-between stage for kids. Your church can help kids through this transition with specific strategies.
Definition of preteens: 10–12 years old, 4th–6th grades
Traditional kids’ ministry is K–5th grade and traditional student ministry is 6th–12th grade, but there is such a large expanse of abilities and maturity in those age groups. Kids in 4th–6th grades don’t fit well in traditional ministries like this.
Preteen ministries help kids in 4th–6th grades go through the transition into early adolescence.
It is easier to address specific preteen issues in a group with a narrower age gap. These might include topics like authentic, personal faith; doubt; and big questions.
An example of preteen worship time:
- Aimed at having preteens own their faith
- Focused on understanding the “why” of worship elements
- Preteens are invited to visit stations during a specific part of worship. Stations can be faith exploration, prayer, offering, and the like. A Worship Response Station lets preteens express what they are going through on their own level.
Ideas for engaging preteens when all ages worship together in the same room:
- Give a little bit longer explanation of worship elements.
- Help with transitions between faster and slower paced parts of worship.
- Give preteens opportunities to lead in worship areas.
Ideas for preteen strategies in a smaller church:
- Start by thinking about how to specifically engage preteens on their level.
- Give them something significant! Let them be leaders.
- How are you currently ministering to preteens at your church?
- What preteen-specific worship opportunities could you create in the next six months?
- Yancy’s “Heartbeat” curriculum
- Leading Preteens by Patrick Snow
- Caught In Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out by Dan Scott