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applyIn writing our curriculum for Fifty6, we really wanted to make every lesson connect with preteens and their daily lives. We wanted to draw lines between what the Bible says and how it can be put into practice. We want them to walk away from every lesson with an idea that will challenge them to live differently based on what they’ve learned from God’s Word.

Here’s how we’re encouraging preteens to apply the Bible to their lives:

1. Make space in the lesson for action steps

At the end of every small group session, we have a segment called React. We do a quick review of the lesson and ask preteens to consider how it will make a difference in their lives. We challenge them by asking this question, In light of all we learned, what will we do differently this week? Here is an example of the React portion of Small Group:
React

2. Give suggestions, but let preteens make decisions

We’ve decided that we will always provide some suggested action steps for preteens, but we ultimately want them to decide how they will apply the lesson to their lives. We don’t want to tell them how to react because we don’t want to limit the way Scripture is working in their life. We want them to make decisions and take this step in owning their faith.

3. Provide Accountability in the Small Group

Accountability is always important in life-change. To make sure that preteens have accountability, we ask small group leaders to follow-up each week on the previous week’s React segment. Preteens are free to share how they applied the Bible to their lives and what God is doing through that.

How do you help preteens apply the Bible to their life?

epic_index
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.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A team of leaders and myself have been dreaming and planning for the future of preteen ministry (5th & 6th Grade) at our church. Many of them have felt God leading us to make some changes, and He has paved the way for some exciting ministry in the near future.

We are currently in the planning and writing stages of the process. We have put together a service schedule and a 2 year curriculum track that will become the future of our 5th and 6th Grade ministry. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” In addition to the team of leaders around me, I want to gather the input from others who are ministering to preteens.

Here is a link to the draft of our preteen service schedule and 2 year curriculum. We’d love to have your input and hear about your experiences in working with preteens:

Download the Service Schedule & 2 Year Curriculum

You can also help by leaving a comment to answer these questions:
1) What are the cores lessons every preteen needs to learn?
2) What do your preteen small groups look like? Number of students? Leaders? How much time?
3) How do you partner with the parents of your preteens? (family services, email, text, newsletter)
4) What is the most effective special event you’ve done with preteens?

If you didn’t already know, I’m a nerd. When something catches my interest, I really want to study it and research it to learn more. In college, I did research for my final thesis on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Here is a little background…

In 1983, Howard Gardner put forth the idea of Multiple Intelligences. The theory of Multiple Intelligences is met with skepticism due to lack of research, but many educational systems still use components of his theory. Gardner suggests that intelligence goes beyond simply reading and writing.  Gardner’s theory proposed 8 abilities in which “intelligence” could be measured.  They are:

  • Logical-Mathematical—learns through the use of reasoning, patterns, and numbers (computer programmer, detective) 
  • Spatial—learns through use of visualizing and designing with the mind’s eye (architect) 
  • Linguistic—learns through use of words, written and/or spoken (author)
  •  Bodily-Kinesthetic—learns through the use of movement, motions, and activity (athlete)
  •  Musical—learns through the use of music, rhythm, and music theory (musician)
  • Interpersonal—learns through the interaction with others (sales person)
  • Intrapersonal—learns through the act of self-reflection (psychologists, lawyers)
  • Naturalistic—learns through relating information to natural surroundings (farmer, agriculturist)

That’s a really brief and insufficient explanation of the theory, but you can read tons more about it—the good and the bad—by googling it. It will have to do for this blog. My research into this theory was how it could be implemented in ministry curriculum to help kids better understand God’s Truth.  I think it has great potential to be used in churches and to better the learning experience of all age groups, but ESPECIALLY PRETEENS!

Sunday, we put it into practice.  We were wrapping up a unit with 5th graders on spiritual warfare.  As a review, we set up 5 stations and allowed students to choose their activity for the day. The stations were: Music, Body, Numbers, Words, and Pictures.  If a student chose Music, then they were given a passage of scripture relating to spiritual warfare and asked to create a song or rap that shared what they had learned from the passage.  Each station did similar activities relating to that form of “intelligence,” or as we called it “learning style.” 

As a Preteen Pastor, I know the struggle it is to get this age group to participate and really engage in a project. We often force them to all do the same things and the results are horrendous.  By allowing them to choose the activity, we saw what their natural preferences or learning styles were.  And since they chose the station, we had no problem getting them to actively participate.  The result…AMAZING!  There were incredible stories written, very talented rappers showed their rhyming skills, beautiful artwork, awesome skits, and really cool puzzles/riddles—all of which showed that the students understood what we had been teaching. And even better, it showed that they were able to share that knowledge with other students through their chosen learning style.

I’m excited to keep researching and integrating this into our curriculum.  There’s not enough space here to share all that we did or all that we’re planning, but I’d love share more or answer questions. If you’d like to know more, send me a tweet or leave a comment below.