Here are 5 important qualities of preteens that make them unique. All of them are foundational to our curriculum:
1) Preteens are beginning to think for themselves.
They question what they’ve always accepted as truth and see things from a different angle. They begin to question their faith, and maybe even experience some doubt on certain truths they have previously believed to be true.
This is actually a good thing. They need opportunities to hash out their questions and doubts.
2) Preteens are in transition from childhood to adolescence.
They're no longer kids and not quite teenagers. They're in a constant state of change and transition.
Preteens are undergoing massive amount of changes in all areas of their lives: cognitively, physically, socially, spiritually, and emotionally.
They’re literally morphing into adolescence.
They think differently than younger kids. Their bodies are undergoing rapid growth (organs, bones, brain, etc.). Friends become a priority. They’re able to “own” for themselves a relationship with God.
3) Preteens want to "own" their relationship with Jesus.
Yes, it is possible for preteens to “own” their relationship with Jesus. They’re ready and willing!
They’re capable of: - Taking steps to nurture a relationship with God on their own. - Paying attention to what God is doing in and around them. - Developing habits like prayer, worship, Bible reading, etc.
Our job as ministry leaders is to create an environment for God to move in the lives of preteens. Our job is to help them "own" a real vibrant relationship with Jesus.
In the preteen years, your role is more like a coach rather than a teacher.
4) Your role is similar to a coach rather than a teacher.
A coach gives guidance, encouragement and equips you to succeed in the game. But ultimately, the coach sits on the sidelines while the players are in the game.
A teacher communicates information to his/her students with the goal of them "getting it".
Most preteen ministry leaders think their role is to be a teacher. That’s not the case.
We're not saying to avoid teaching preteens. A coach does “teach” his players. You should teach preteens about God, the Bible, and Jesus.
But a coach helps his players put into action what he/she teaches. That’s the ultimate goal. Players will take what the coach taught, and then do it.
Usually, it’s not done right the first time. It takes a little more guidance from the coach and practice from the player.
The same is true in preteen ministry.
As you give students opportunities to pray, hear God’s voice, share their faith with friends, worship....
…they might not be perfect at it.
But the more they do it and get encouragement from leaders, the more natural it will become.
5) Preteens learn by doing.
Preteens learn by doing, not just listening to a message
Preteens love to play active games, participate in hands on activities that are "cool", and need to be a part of the learning process from beginning to end.
Our preteen curriculum is loaded with fun games and hands on activities appropriate for preteens.