Tapping into your creativity is just the beginning. You’ll also need to work on the mechanics of building a preteen ministry.
Putting Together the Nuts and Bolts
Putting together the nuts and bolts helps create an identity for a preteen ministry. When done right, preteens feel they are apart of something greater than themselves. What are the nuts and bolts? Logo, name, environment, atmosphere, media, music and worship all work together to create a place that preteens gravitate towards.
The basic idea is to be relevant to preteen culture. Most likely, if you’re not in your 20’s or early 30’s this part is going to stretch you a bit. My advice is to enter the preteen world, ask preteens their advice, watch movies and TV shows they like and listen to their type of music. Preteen culture is constantly changing, so keep up with new trends and make adjustments as necessary.
Logo – Design a logo and put it on everything. Stick it on letterhead, parent letters, the wall of the preteen room, website and team meeting handbooks. Put it everywhere. It should appeal to both boys/girls and be cool. If you miss the cool factor, you miss everything.
Name – Come up with five possible names for the group and allow preteens to vote on which they like most. Go with the one they choose. Use the new name every time you refer to the preteen ministry.
Media – Dream of the different forms of media that can be used to reach preteens. Website, blog, music commentary, social networking, PowerPoint and print media are just a few examples. The temptation would be to build it big right away. However, don’t spend too much time doing so the first two years. Instead, start dreaming and take baby steps. What type of website would you ultimately like to have? How can it most effectively reach preteens in your group? Ask these questions and start small. Maybe launch a simple website now and add one feature every couple of months until your ultimate goal is reached. Start small and build slowly. You’ve got a lot of other things to focus on for now.
Music – If you took a survey of the type of music and kind of groups preteens like it would be eye opening. We have to reach them in this area because it is the age they begin to experiment with various forms of music. Yes, we do this in worship, which I will get to next. But for now, think of ways you can give them music that has the sound they like but with a Christian message. A few Christian artists that hit the nail on the head with preteens are Yancy, the Lads and… Others exist, but these are a great start. Play their music in the background before and after church, during group games, on your website, during a video you created and at events. Use their music, or even appropriate non-Christian music, as an opening to a message. Get up to date what kind of music preteens like and use it wherever you can to reach preteens.
Worship – If you’re doing cheesy hand motions and most of the older boys are not engaged, stop now. I think the best way to do worship with preteens is a band. You can incorporate hand motions, but they need to be cool. Grab some preteen guys and girls and brainstorm possible motions. Don’t overdo them, just a little bit here and there is good. The band should have a rock sound to it. Stage lights, disco balls, etc. are a great addition to the worship experience. Have the band consist mostly of teens and preteens, with maybe an adult leader. If you can pull off a band of all preteens, go for it. If putting together seems impossible, it’s not. If you have no musical talent, like me, then recruit somebody who does to recruit and lead the team. If you only start out with one guy on the guitar, then okay. Better than sticking a old school DVD in with hand motions that appeal to a first or second grader.Tweet