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At the 2012 Preteen Leaders Conference, we were given some specific topics and asked to share some ideas from our ministry. The ideas were posted on the wall with notecards for everyone else to read and gain from. It really was a great idea and you can check out what was posted over at FourFiveSix.

One of the things that struck me from the notecards was the number of comments in certain areas. For instance, there were 28 ideas posted for Games in preteen ministry. There were 22 ideas posted about Teaching/Curriculum for preteen ministry. But there were only 4 ideas posted for small groups and 3 for volunteers.

    They were great ideas, but why so few?


I think it’s because both of these areas are tricky. I know everyone struggles with volunteers from time to time. Even if you can recruit enough help, you probably still struggle with training and retaining those volunteers.

Small groups are no walk in the park either. There are many dynamics that must be considered so that your preteen small groups can be successful. You have to think about group size, meeting space, purpose of the group, curriculum for the group, leaders for the group, and on and on and on.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting some ideas and strategies that you might be able to use in developing preteen small groups. I’ve done some research and pulled from personal experience, and I’ve already learned so much that will help our ministry. There are some great churches doing really cool things in preteen ministry, and I can’t wait to share that info with you!

If you haven’t done so, be sure you subscribe to the blog so that you can stay up to date with this series of posts.

A while back, I learned about a very cool website from Jim Kast-Keat. Jim is extremely creative, and he is always introducing new methods for educating and inspiring others.

The site Jim taught me about was Xtranormal. The site allows you to create your own script and bring it to life in a movie. It takes a little practice to get the hang of the controls, but once you do it’s amazing!

I was first using the site just to make funny videos for my daughter, and then I had an idea. We were getting ready to revamp our entire preteen ministry. New identity, new physical space, new curriculum…everything new!

There was a lot of “info” to cover, but we first wanted to just start a buzz among our leaders about the exciting changes. So, I decided to create a short video that would announce the news to our leaders. Enjoy the video!


Have you ever wondered what makes a great leader “great”? It’s the time of year when we are doing interviews and placing volunteers for the new ministry year. As we go through this process, I have been reminded of this quote:

The people in and around your ministry will define your ministry.

Preteens, parents, and other potential volunteers will make judgments about your ministry based on what they see, and what they predominately see are the volunteers that you place in ministry.

Does that make you nervous to think about? It makes me nervous! It also makes the process of enlisting leaders even more important. Here are some qualities that we look for in our recruitment and interview process:

1. Passionate faith
Our expectation is that a volunteer will encourage preteens to grow in their faith. To do so, it is imperative that a volunteer displays a passionate faith. A passionate faith is like a virus that spreads throughout the group and infects every member.

2. Value people and relationships
A volunteer called to build relationships with preteens needs to value relationships. Even more so, we want leaders that can develop relationships with other leaders and parents. These relationships are tremendously helpful to the entire ministry.

3. Teachable
Even the 20-year ministry veteran has room for growth, so leaders need to be teachable. In addition to being teachable, we look for leaders who are “teachers.” Every experience in ministry is an opportunity to learn and share with other leaders to help them grow. Leaders who are teachable and teachers are worth their weight in gold!

4. Balance
The commitment to ministry is not always convenient. Someone who is over-committed in many areas of life will never achieve their full potential in ministry. When enlisting leaders, look for individuals who show balance in their life. They will most likely be able to manage the commitment of ministry and be successful in it.

5. Experience
We would love for every volunteer to have 10-20 years of experience in preteen ministry, but that’s not likely and that’s not really what we mean by experience. Great leaders have experience that is life-based. They have spent time under a faithful mentor, or they have experienced God working in their life in a mighty way. This type of experience is a well to draw from when leading a group of preteens.

What qualities do you look for in potential volunteers?


Summer is officially here and it’s a hot one. Summer can be a slow time for preteen ministry, but that doesn’t meant you have to lose momentum. A great way to connect with your preteens during the summer is to host a game day or water day. This event will give preteens the opportunity to fellowship together, and it will help you to promote for your ministry launch in the fall.

If you’re like me, even in the summer you don’t have a lot of time to plan an event like this. Lucky for you the planning has already been done! PreteenMinistry.net has a Summer Game Pack loaded with 15 games that will add excitement to a water day, summer camp, or any ministry gathering. The Summer Game Pack is only $19, so you should definitely go get it today!

Have a summer camp or ministry event planned for July?
Let me know about it in a comment below and I will email you a game from the game pack for free!