CTA, Inc.

Promotion Sunday and Preteens

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Avoid the scariness of moving to a new group. Listen to these thoughtful ways to move kids in and out of preteens.

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Introduction: Transitioning into or out of preteen ministry is a big step for kids. With a little extra planning, ministry leaders can make this a nonthreatening (maybe even exciting!) transition for kids and their parents.


  • In many student ministry programs, kids transfer into a new class and setting after 3rd grade, when they transition into preteen ministry, and after 6th grade, when they transition out of preteen ministry and into junior-high ministry.
  • How should leaders plan for this transition? Remember, you don’t have to do everything, but do something to mark the transition. You should absolutely leverage the opportunity to reach kids and parents and to encourage excitement in the kids who are transitioning.
  • Key points for transitioning third graders into preteen ministry:
    • Plan far ahead. Consider all the ways in which you can make the move successful.
    • Get leaders and teachers to become familiar faces to the kids that are transitioning.
    • Share the date of promotion Sunday and build excitement. Be sure to talk to the kids directly about the excitement of moving up.
    • Plan preview days. Celebrate the day and give the kids a gift as they arrive in the new area.
    • On the actual promotion day, celebrate and make it easy for the kids. Slow down and answer questions.
    • After they have officially transitioned, follow up and make the effort to ensure they come back the following week.
  • How should you communicate with the parents of third graders?
    • Answer questions and explain the differences between grade levels.
    • Provide information, possibly in a booklet or an online resource.
    • Follow up as you communicate, especially with parents who haven’t attended meetings.
  • Key points for transitioning sixth graders out of preteen ministry:
    • Make the transition inviting rather than scary.
    • Use the same transition guidelines that are recommended for third graders, but adapt it for the sixth graders.
    • Consider planning an event for only the sixth graders. Make this a fun celebration. Also take advantage of the opportunity to speak with parents.

Thought Starters:

  • How have you approached promotion Sunday in the past? Consider the ways in which it has worked well and ways in which it has failed.
  • Which leaders in your program could help make changes to the way you transition preteens?


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