Tag Archives: Public Schools

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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2013 Goals Evaluation

If you are a regular reader of my blog, I thank you.  Also, you maybe remember the goals I set for the 2013 ministry year.  Well, it is always a good idea to look back and see how we did on each of those goals.  Below are the 10 goals and the evaluation grade.????????????????????????????????????????

Student Takeover   Broaden & Heighten the expectations of students in ministry & youth group participation.  Continue personal discipleship & Leader Training.

A-.  During the course of the year, we provided multiple opportunities for students to participate and lead.  In fact, we set aside one youth group night per month for the students to lead the entire night – from attendance to set up!  Would have been an A, but without having everyone involved, it wasn’t quite accomplished.  Something to shoot for, 100% involvement!

Parent Connection    Parent Seminar & Improve with weekly youth culture updates

B+.  Much better this year.  Held a parenting seminar, provided youth culture updates each week regularly, and hosted 3 parent meetings.  Improvement needed in the area of parent involvement in activities (more than just providing snacks)

Family Life Planning     Begin offering life planning for student ministry parents.

A. My goal was to begin this, and I have been able to begin this with several families.  Looking forward to more of this in 2014.

Easter Outreach Community    Easter Egg Hunt planned by leadership students

A.  Praise the Lord for how well this went.  I could not have asked for better leadership by the students, and they deserve an A.  Over 125 kids came to our first student-led outreach!

Youth Pastor Network    Launch a network in SW Columbus.

B.  Sure, I was able to launch the network.  But due to schedule conflicts and limited participation, the group was typically only 2 or 3 guys.  Still, it’s a start!

Public School Ministry    Still working on ways to enter public schools to share Jesus.

B-.  Was able to go to school and speak to Special Education department and put my name in for help with counseling.  Other than that, still needs work.  Possibly working on doing an ant-bullying program for the coming year.

Youth Leader Equip    Improve equipping & discipleship in meetings.  More opportunities to equip for service.

B.  Some improvement here of more intentional equipping in leader meetings, discussing ways to mentor/disciple.  Need to broaden scope of training.

Better Documentation of MSM    I’m talking pictures/video.

B-.  Doing a better job with this, trying to post pictures and video when possible.  Still working on getting a MSM video together for the website, which would drastically improve this evaluation grade.

WIN Event    World in Need Event to promote spiritual and physical needs globally

A.  One of my favorite events of the year.  Liked it so much, going to do it again this coming year.  What an eye-opening, worldview forming event this was.  Well worth the time and effort.

Inter-generational Church    Promote events and ways to bridge generations in church, church programs, church events.

B.  Could definitely use improvement, but was able to pull off the best inter-generational event in my ministry career.  Did a “speed-dating” type event, connecting the older & younger generation together.  Still hearing about it even 4 months later!

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2013 Goals

2013 Goals:

  1. Student Takeover   Broaden & Heighten the expectations of students in ministry & youth group participation.  Continue personal discipleship & Leader Training.
  2. Parent Connection    Parent Seminar & Improve with weekly youth culture updates
  3. Family Life Planning     Begin offering life planning for student ministry parents.
  4. Easter Outreach Community    Easter Egg Hunt planned by leadership students
  5. Youth Pastor Network    Launch a network in SW Columbus.
  6. Public School Ministry    Still working on ways to enter public schools to share Jesus.
  7. Youth Leader Equip    Improve equipping & discipleship in meetings.  More opportunities to equip for service.
  8. Better Documentation of MSM    I’m talking pictures/video.
  9. WIN Event    World in Need Event to promote spiritual and physical needs globally
  10. Inter-generational Church    Promote events and ways to bridge generations in church, church programs, church events, 2013 goalsand outside of church.
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