Guest Blogger Kimberly Wells shares tips to help kids and parents navigate the transition between kids ministry and student ministry.
Every year around this time, kids and parents make the transition from kids ministry to youth ministry. This may seem like a normal, expected move, but it can make significant waves in the life of a child. This is the moment where they move out of comfort into uncertainty, away from trusted teachers and systems to something new, and being on the top to back to the bottom. Not to mention all of the emotional, physical, and mental changes kids are experiencing. As a kidmin leader, I cannot take a lackadaisical approach to this epic moment in our kids’ lives.
We know kids ministry is more directed to working with parents whereas student ministry works more with the students attending. Because of this, it is crucial to guide both parents and kids effectively into student ministry. In my time on church staff, this movement requires more thought and preparation than almost anything else.
Here are three tips that I have found to be helpful for this transition:
- Communicate! Both parents and kids struggle in today’s time to balance school, work, extracurriculars and the like. It is even more imperative than ever to communicate effectively. In our ministry, we communicate in various mediums: written, weekly emails, social media, announcement TVs, and info kiosks. We want our parents to have multiple avenues to knowing what is going on in each ministry. In order to help parents and kids transition to student ministry, communicating what major dates are happening as far as promotion, events, and other important details, will mean a lot.
- Give space to discover. Schedule out time to give the kids space to discover who will lead them the next several years in a fun and engaging way. This requires kid and student ministers to work together to meet the kids moving up, like attending small groups, camps, VBS, and so forth. Start planning early, the summer is a great time to give the student ministry staff facetime in front of the preteen kids. Invite their current leaders to be a part and a source of encouragement to kids while also passing information to the new leaders.
- Provide intentional opportunities to belong. The junior high small group leaders play a vital role in allowing kids to feel like they belong. Cast vision to new small group leaders to spend time investing in the new students, knowing their extracurricular schedule, and making time to attend and support their small group kids. Invite them to begin praying over their new kids, especially if they know their names in advance. Plan fun events where kids and parents can meet the new staff like a breakfast before church or fun game nights.
We know kids have a choice when they move into student ministry if they are going to continue deepening their walk with Jesus or move away. If kids and student ministers work together to help communicate effectively to parents, give space for kids to discover the next ministry, and offer intentional opportunities, we can not only help kids move to a new ministry, but also grow deeper in their walk with Jesus and the local church.
Kimberly Wells has over 17 years of kid min experience, serving churches in England, Wisconsin, and Texas for the last 10 years. She and her husband, Tim, currently serve on staff at First Baptist Wylie, Tx. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, board games and traveling. She has a deep desire for kids to know Jesus, own their faith, and change their world for the Gospel.