“School’s Out for the Summer”... Okay it’s not quite out for the summer yet, but what a great time to start gearing up for some summer preteen ministry ideas. Summer is a perfect time to get excitement going for preteen ministry. Here are just a couple of ideas to help you get a jump-start on your summer preteen calendar.
A VBS for preteens only
Try something a little different from the little kids’ VBS. Give it a fun name like, “Extreme [Group Name] Week”. If the VBS is during the day, plan the preteen events for the evening. This just helps you hype it up as something cool and unique for them.
Divide the night into three sections: (1) special event (2) food, and (3) worship/guest speaker. Make sure you are not doing all the speaking. This event would be a great opportunity to invite different staff members, elders, or deacons to speak each night. Let the students hear from other good teachers in your church.
6:30-7:40 pm – special event
7:40-8:00 pm – food
8:00-9:00 pm – worship time and guest speaker.
These are just a few examples of special events:
Fear Factor Night
Amazing Race Night
Transitioning to Jr. High: The Crossing
This is an overnight event where you partner with your junior high leader and say good-bye to your graduating preteens. Once this weekend is over, they are officially in junior high. You can do an event like this in many ways, but there are a couple of things that you can plan that will make it very special for the students. The weekend can be divided equally amongst the preteen and junior high leaders. The preteen leader could be in charge of Friday night, and the junior high leader can take charge of Saturday. On Friday night, give the students a chance to share their favorite preteen memory and show pictures/video of the past two or three years. The kids will write encouraging notes to each other.
End Friday night with the “Crossing.” Try to find a bridge or a longer path that they have to cross over. Begin by reading a special letter that shares your heart and your hopes for them as they cross over into junior high. Leave them on one side and go to the middle of the bridge or path where they are going to cross. One at a time, a leader dismisses them and they come to you. Say a personal good-bye, put a special cool cross necklace on them, and say, “Welcome to junior high.” Once they get to the end of the walkway, the junior high leaders and some students are there to welcome them. I always ask the junior high leader to pick some select first-year junior highers who crossed over last year and have shown leadership to attend the weekend to get to know the incoming students.
After they have “crossed”, they are officially in junior high. The next day we try to get all the students on some team building rope course with a zip line or a rock wall. This is a great way for the new junior high students to form trust. On a side note, if you have a church camp or any other camp nearby that has all these facilities, that would be a great place to have “The Crossing.”
Have a wonderful summer with your preteens. Go out and play in the sun, build relationships, have some fun and move them closer to Jesus.