Kids are maturing (I use the word loosely) more quickly than ever before. They’re grabbing hold of technology and truth earlier than any of their leaders ever did. And they’re struggling to stay engaged at church!
Create something specific for them. (In our format, it’s 5th & 6th graders). Whether it falls under the kids ministry umbrella, the student ministry covering, or a weird hybrid of both (which could be awesome if you love your kids pastor), just make sure it happens.
In our context, we use junior high material. (Yes, our kids are ready for 90% of it.) We keep it very conversational. We play more games, hit one primary teaching point (most days), and utilize a structure similar to student ministry so when they promote, they’re already familiar. Our preteens have their own summer camp – and our 6th graders do not promote into the student ministry until the summer has concluded.
We also ask our preteens to attend ‘regular’ worship (as opposed to kids worship.) We give them journals and do a series on how to glean from sermons, worship, and personal time with God.
Yes. It’s more work. But it is incredibly rewarding to watch those little minds opening up to the bigness of God as they prepare for adolescence.