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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.

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.

 A few weeks back, I made a decision to put the blog on the back burner to focus on some other projects and to try and spend more time with my family. I told myself that I would wait until March 1 to post again…and it’s been a long hard wait! I’ve enjoyed the break and all that has happened. But to be honest, it’s been tough not writing and sharing everything that’s going on.

Here is an overview of the things that I’ll be sharing about in the next couple of days:

  • Preteen Leader’s Conference: I’m really excited about heading to California to meet with other preteen leaders for this event. Plus, I’ll be leading a couple of breakouts at the conference.
  • Breakout Topics: I will be previewing the breakout sessions on the blog and asking for feedback from you. This will help me focus on what will be the most help for other preteen leaders.
  • New Preteen Ministry: Much of my focus during the 2 month hiatus was on the future of 5th and 6th grade ministries at Fellowship Bible Church. I’m looking forward to showing our curriculum design, room design, and awesome new identity w/ logo. I’m excited about the plan God has laid on our hearts for our church and our satellite campuses.
  • Lots more!

 

One of the challenges that I’ve found in working with preteens is the uniqueness of this ministry.  I’ve learned to borrow from resources in children’s ministry and student ministry, but the most helpful tools have come from other preteen ministry leaders.  That’s what I’m super excited about heading to the Preteen Leader’s Conference put on by the team at FourFiveSix.

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The Preteen Leader’s Conference is designed by preteen leaders for preteen leaders.

This will by my first time to attend the conference, but I’ve heard great stories of the connections and experiences others have had. During last year’s conference, I followed the twitter feeds and blog posts of other leaders as they attended the conference. When the conference ended, I made the decision right then that I would be attending the conference in 2012.

If you work with preteens or have an interest in launching a preteen ministry within your church, you really need to be at the Preteen Leader’s Conference. As a bonus, you can attend for just $137 if you register in the next 10 days. You can register to be a part of this unique experience HERE.