Our church has had a strong ministry for 5th & 6th Graders for a long time. They started investing in this age group over 15 years ago, and they saw God do some amazing things over those years. Their investment in preteens was one of the major factors that God used to call me to Fellowship Bible Church.

When I came a year and a half ago, the church was looking to make an investment in preteen ministry for the next 15 years. We spent countless hours praying and discussing, and the vision was Fifty6. Fifty6 launched this past Sunday, and it was amazing.


Preteens “mingling” during People Bingo

Leaders are already sharing how God is moving in their group. We call them God Stories. My favorite God Story from this past Sunday came from a small group mentor and a 6th grade boy.

The mentor got a phone call on Sunday morning from a boy who has been in his group for a few years. The boys’ parents had decided that they were going to be heading out-of-town and would have to miss church. The 6th grade boy wanted to be at Fifty6, so he called his mentor and asked for a ride! Of course, the mentor went and picked him up! I’m thankful for how God is using Fifty6 to draw preteens to Him.


Teaching Time in Fifty6

I can’t wait to share some of the things that we’ve learned in starting this new ministry. Is it next Sunday yet?

Has your preteen ministry launched for the new year? If so, how did it go?

shhhMid-August is like New Year’s for me. My calendar has always followed that schedule. First, August sparked a new year because I was a student, and now it sparks a new year because I’m in ministry.

As I start the “new year”, one of my goals or “resolutions” is to work on my communication with family, co-workers, and others.

Here are 3 phrases I want to say less this year…

I’m sorry if I offended you or hurt your feelings, but…

So much wrong with this statement. It’s a sad excuse for an apology and a poor attempt to justify my sinful behavior. I need to work on sincere apologies.

Well, I heard that…

I love gossip. I love hearing it, and I love spreading it. God has really convicted me of this and I am challenged to erase this phrase from my vocabulary.

I don’t care.

When I get overwhelmed or stressed, this is my go-to phrase. I simply shut down. I want to work on being assertive and taking initiative in those moments, instead of saying “I don’t care.”

Here are 3 phrases that I want to say more this year…

It’s ok.

I can set high expectations on other people. I am easily disappointed when those expectations aren’t met, even when they’re unrealistic. This phrase is not for other people. It is for me. I need to tell myself that “it’s ok” to take a chill pill and be content.

Can I pray with you about that right now?

I have conversations every day in which people share with me what’s happening in their life. It’s sometimes great, and it’s sometimes bad. My desire is to stop right then and there and pray with them about what God is doing.


My calendar was pretty full this past year because I said “yes” too many times. I want to be more selective about what I agree to do so that I don’t sacrifice my family time or personal health.

I’m pretty sure the man who lives under a rock in a cave on the deserted island of “Nomansland” has heard about the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. I fully support Dan Cathy and his business principles. After reading much about the Cathy family and learning about their heart for people, it is clear that he is a man of deep compassion. I commend Dan Cathy for his comments and his conviction. Based on all that I know of this man and his father, I honestly do not think there was any hatred in his statements. I’m sure he understood that his comments would be polarizing, but that does not equal hatred. I may take a more serious approach to this subject in a later post, but that will have to wait.

Have you ever heard of a Jesus Juke?

You really should be following Jon Acuff on Twitter and checking out his blog, Stuff Christians Like. (It’s got almost as many followers as Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day!) Jon gave the world so many great things like the “Jesus Juke.” According to Jon, a “Jesus Juke” is

“when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.”

I know the whole ordeal with Cathy’s comments and Chick-fil-A is not a “joke filled conversation,” but I’ve still seen people flip the conversation to a self-righteous circus. I’ve really been amused at the “Jesus Juke” responses that I’ve seen on twitter. I don’t judge these people for their responses because there is truth to their statements, but that’s not the point. People stand in 100-degree heat for hours just to get a chicken sandwich, and then you go and pull a Jesus Juke! C’mon man, it’s just not right.

I decided to start saving some of the top “Jesus Jukes” that I’ve seen from Twitter. Here are just a few that I pulled last night…





I wish we could all order a chicken sandwich, give each other a nice side-hug, and talk about the issue. Until then, keep the “Jesus Jukes” coming!

Did you see any Chick-fil-A “Jesus Jukes” worth sharing?

As children become preteens, they begin putting massive amounts of pressure upon themselves to live up to expectations. As parents and leaders, we must begin to help them understand their failures and face them with confidence.

The new series, Epic Fail, from Preteenministry.net is a great resource to help talk with preteens about expectations and failures. The series speaks to preteens on their level about how God can use our failures to shape us and the world around us.

Every series I’ve ever downloaded from Preteenministry.net has been worth the cost, but this series takes it to another level. How is that?

First, each lesson in the series comes with a devotional that preteens can use throughout the week. The devotionals could easily be given to parents to used as a family devotion with their preteen. I love anything that incorporates the family, so this is an awesome addition to the lesson pack.

Second, each lesson in this series includes awesome video elements to use for teaching your group.  I always love using video, but I hardly ever have time to create them. Epic Fail gives you great video content so all you have to do is press play! The videos integrate easily into your own teaching, and they provide a great change of pace for preteens.

Epic Fail has all the great stuff that you’ve come to expect from Preteenministry.net and even more! You can get this awesome series for only $89 at Preteenministry.net.

is so excited about this new series, they’re giving away a free copy here at Mattmo.org. Check out the details below for your chance to win a free download of this awesome series.

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