Tag Archives: High School

5 Steps to Launching a Junior High Ministry

junior_highLet’s face it, there is a ginormous difference between a 7th grader and a 12th grader. There is a height difference, maturity difference, social difference, intellectual difference, and often a spiritual depth difference. But many of the youth groups across the nation, including my own until recently, lump these grades together.

Public schools figured this out a long time ago, that the education model at its best, features a separation between kids, junior high students, and high school students. So why do many church models feature a much different alignment? Factors include size of the youth group, lack of youth leaders, limited facility space, or just simply lack of time.

But what if you do not face those issues, and you realize it is time to launch a junior high (JH) ministry. Here are 5 steps to help with the launch:

  1. Dedicated Couple. This is the most important. It is listed first on the list, because without a dedicated couple, your JH ministry will most likely fail. Your first task in launching a JH ministry is to hit the recruiting trail. Look for a couple in your church that has a heart for young people. They don’t have to be theologians. They don’t have to be young. They don’t have to be hip, cool, jive (or whatever the kids are saying these days)…the main criteria is a deep love for God, and a love for young people. That’s what JH students need – a consistent, caring, and dedicated person in their life. And if the couple is not dedicated, they will quit next Tuesday, because JH students are a rare breed that require patience and dedication. Did I mention dedicated?junior_high_ministry
  2. Special Events. Junior high events, where do you start? Begin to look at your student ministry calendar and find those weeks where the high school students have something, and the junior high students do not. Those are the weeks you need to start brainstorming what events can be held for your junior high students so they do not feel left out and you show them they are a big part of the youth ministry too.
  3. Teach to Reach. Let me drop a bomb on you. Most worldviews are established by the 8th Yikes. So you think you should focus your teaching on 7th and 8th graders. Say it with me, “You betcha”. Who says “You betcha” anymore? Well, you just did. But seriously, teach on their level of understanding, but challenge them in their faith. Raise the bar in evangelism training, service, and theological intake.
  4. Brace for Impact. Immediately work with your dedicated couple to begin recruiting. I do not think it is a coincidence that the 1st year we are doing JH ministry, it is the largest JH group we have ever had. I haven’t taken a math class in a while, but it seems to be addition by division, so you better multiply or it could subtract. Get it? Help will be needed in quick order, so don’t lag on recruiting help. Begin praying and thinking of who can join the JH team right away.
  5. 6th Grade Jump. 1st thing you will want to teach is a transition class to the 6th Include in the curriculum all the basics: behavior in the worship service, communion, baptism, giving/offering, service, Bible study, worship, etc. Do not just assume your JH students know how to worship, have a firm grasp on the ordinances of the church, and have a desire to serve. Teach them!

These are not all-inclusive steps, but these will give you a firm foundation for establishing a JH ministry. In a small church, like mine, we still combine regularly. Without a full-time JH pastor or worker, it would be difficult to completely separate. But having dedicated teaching times, events, and ministry to JH is something that you can still accomplish even at a smaller church. Begin praying for that couple, and when God brings them to you, buckle up and trust God with this new adventure.

Recommended Resources:  Controlled Chaos – Kurt Johnston, Kurt & Scott’s Junior High Adventure – Johnston & Rubin

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

Curriculum Review: Sticky Faith by Dr. Kara Powell & Brad Griffin (Zondervan Press)SONY DSC

The Good:

Creativity. The creativity has to be the first thing that stands out to me. You can tell right off the bat that the writers have experience in youth ministry. This is not purely a lecture series, but an interactive teaching approach that is easy for the teacher to use. The illustrations were dynamite, and I was rarely disappointed in the variety.

Purpose. The premise falls in line with my youth ministry philosophy. As it says in Colossians 1:23, the goal in youth ministry should be: lead teenagers to a faith that lasts, that continues, and in this case, that sticks. With so many students leaving church following graduation, there must be something that we could present to our departing seniors that will help change the trend. This curriculum aims to buck the trend, and point the students towards a faith that isn’t tied to youth group.

Easy to Use. No matter the experience level of the teacher, this curriculum was pretty easy to use. Sure, there was study involved, but even if a parent wanted to use this with their upper-classmen, it could happen.

The Bad:

The video clips. I wasn’t too impressed with the content of the clips, and was even concerned at some of the wording for young Christians. Be careful, and do not feel pressured to use the clips. At times they add to the teaching, and other times they are simply not needed.

Activities. Some of the activities or worship practices were out of my comfort zone. It’s good to have creativity, but again, don’t feel pressured in doing something that may cause more confusion than growth. This was rare in the series, but it did appear.

The Grade: B

The variety and ease of use allowed this to be a positive grade. There were some flaws, and the spiritual depth needed an extra boost every now and then, but for the most part, I enjoyed the series. In fact, I was able to use this material for a transition class where I combined junior high, high school, & young adults. Very few curricula could ever be that versatile.

The curriculum did its job in providing valuable lessons for the senior to transition into adult life. It’s an important enough venture to look into this curriculum for a number of reasons: very few curricula out there like this, the epidemic of seniors leaving church after graduation, and the importance of the topics covered. Just those few reasons alone should encourage you to take a look.

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Evangelism Events – Part 2

As promised, here are 50 events that I have participated in over the years.  Some are outdated, some went very well, some were flops…After reading the list.  Feel free to comment about some of the events that you have done over the years!

1. Where’s Waldo
2. Mall Masquerade
3. Clue
4. Diamond Smugglers
5. Video Scavenger Hunt
6. “Make your own video” night
7. Parent Appreciation Night
8. Coffee House
9. Talent Show
10. K-Nine/Matt-Ball
11. Dodgeball
12. Capture-the-flag
13. Frisbee golf
14. Monopoly – LIFESIZE
15. Open Gym
16. Sardines
17. Bigger & Better
18. Mafia
19. 4 on the couch
20. Board Game Night
21.  Amazing Race
22. Survivor
23.  Bunko
24.  Mystery Dinner
25.  Director’s Cut – Make your own movie
26. Fear Factor
27.  Miniature Golf
28.  Bowling
29.  Laser Tag
30.  Prom Night (Alternative to dancing)
31.  Disco Night (milkshakes, blob movie)
32.  5th Quarter Party
33.  Guys/Girls Nights
34.  Back to School Night/Church Picnic
35.  Theme/Water Park
36.  Word of Life SuperBowl
37. Widow/Singles Valentine Dinner
38. Camping Trip
39.  Basketball/Dodgeball Marathon
40. Teens Involved
41.  Attend a Sports Game
42.  Olympics
43.  Winter Retreat
44.  WinterJam
45.  Fall Retreat
46. Super Bowl Party
47.  Small Group Day
48.  Camp
49.  Ice Skate/Roller Skate
50.  Turkey Bowl
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