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It’s Day 2 of the Preteen Leaders Conference, and I already have a bag full of ideas and notes from some great preteen leaders. Stay tuned to the blog next week, I will do a recap of the conference with detailed notes from the main sessions.

Today, I get to lead another breakout with preteen leaders on the topic of cultivating leaders. The main idea of the session will be the premise that

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

This fact may encourage some and scare the living daylight out of others! Parents, preteens, and other potential leaders will judge the ministry based upon those they see the most, which is likely the volunteer leadership you have placed in charged.

With this in mind, it is important that we create an environment that sets our leaders up to be successful in their service to God. Like a farmer provides the necessities to cultivate a good crop, we need to have a strategy for cultivating great leaders.

Here are the 8 Ways to Create a Culture that Cultivates Leaders that I will share in today’s breakout session:

    1) Set Standards and Expectations for Your Team
    2) Cast an Inspiring Vision for Your Team
    3) Build a Sense of “Family” Amongst Your Team
    4) Train Your Team Well and Often
    5) Celebrate “God-Stories” with Your Team
    6) Form a Friendship with Every Member of Your Team
    7) Provide Opportunities for Your Team to Give Input and Feedback
    7) Make Sure Every Team Member (Including Yourself) is Growing

If you would like more info on any of these, leave a comment and I’ll send you the notes from the breakout.

The Preteen Leaders Conference begins tomorrow, and I’m excited to get to lead two breakouts for some of the attendees. The first of the breakouts is titled, “Connecting with Parents of Preteens.” We will look at why it’s important to integrate the home into preteen ministry, and how we can call parents to engage in the strategy.

In preparing for the session, I dug out my notes from a study that was released a few years ago by Barna Research and The Rethink Group. Along with tons of other great findings, here is what the research found when it came to the strategy and/or expectations for parental involvement:

    • 46% of parents admittedly do not have a plan to accomplish the desired outcomes in their children.

    • 72% of parents said that the church could be a good help for the development of this plan

    • However, only half (45%) said the expectations (action plan) of the church were clear

If you don’t have a strategy to connect the home with your ministry, the question is, “Why not?”

It is clear that parents are looking at the church as a great source of training and equipping. They recognize their role in the transfer of faith to their children, and they see value in what the church can offer.

If you do have a strategy to connect the home with your ministry, the questions is, “How clearly have we communicated this strategy to parents?” and “How are we measuring the success or failure of our strategy?”

As much as parents look to the church for training, we are not doing well at meeting that demand. Stop blaming parents for not caring or not being active in their child’s spiritual development, and start communicating a strategy that they can understand and execute.

Survey Says…

March 27, 2012 — Leave a comment


One of the most beneficial practices that we have in our preteen ministry is the use of surveys or questionnaires. Following each unit, we pass out a questionnaire that usually includes 10-12 short-answer questions. The purpose of the survey is to think how they will apply what they learned in the previous unit and to get them thinking about the next unit’s topic. These surveys have created an effective evaluation process for what we teach and how we teach.

Here are a few ways the surveys have helped:

    Surveys show us the “felt needs” of preteens that need to be addressed from a Biblical perspective in our teaching

    Surveys give insight to what teaching methods are most effective for the group and what methods are “duds”

    Surveys provide encouragement for our small group leaders as they see proof that their students are “getting it”

    Surveys give preteens a chance to communicate what they’re learning and give input into the direction of the ministry

    Surveys give preteens an opportunity to think through the life application of what the Bible is teaching them

What method(s) do you use to evaluate your ministry?


There are so many amazing websites dedicated to children’s ministry and student ministry. Many of them are also very helpful for preteen ministry. Unfortunately, there are not hundred of sites dedicated to preteen ministry, but there are some really great ones! These are the 10 that I’ve found most helpful:

1. Preteenministry.net
Blog, curriculum, games, ideas…Nick has put it all together. There is a reason this is the #1 site for preteen ministry. Definitely a must have for every preteen leader.

2. FourFiveSix.org
FourFiveSix is a great tool for building community with other leaders. I highly recommend joining a peer group.

3. SuperStart! Preteen
SuperStart! produces great resources for leaders and for preteens. They are dedicated to preteens, and they understand them better than anyone. I specifically love the Ideas & Helps section.

4. Tweenparent.com
Tweenparent is dedicated to providing resources for parents of 9-13 year olds. If you believe in equipping parents to be better spiritual leaders, this website is a must read.

5. JCISONLINE – Resources for Tween and Preteen Ministry
JC is doing awesome things in preteen ministry. He posts regularly to his blog and never fails to disappoint.

6. Preteenmin.com
Clint May has developed an awesome strategy for training preteens to lead. Clint has 20+ years of experience that is well worth reading.

7. Preteen U
Scott Godinez just started blogging about preteen ministry, but his creative ideas have already gained a following. You should definitely check out “Gnoming Your Bible” and “Checkers for Preteens.”

8. Lifeway’s Flyte Blog
The Preteen Team over at Lifeway is led by Jeff Land. They just recently released their preteen curriculum, FLYTE. It is very well-produced and versatile enough to be used in several situations. Being a large publisher, they are a great go-to for research and insight into preteen life.

9. The 5/6 Journal
Nick Bremmer is another “newbie” on the preteen ministry website list. Nick began blogging about his adventure in launching a preteen ministry. It’s fun to travel that journey with him and learn from him.

10. J12
This list was obviously in no specific order because j12 is one of the best preteen resources! The j12 tagline is “reaching a generation before they need to be rescued.” From curriculum to blogging, this is a great site!

What sites did I miss?
What are you reading to help you in preteen ministry?