Ministering to Pre-Teens

Get the pre-teens in your church into God’s Word before they get to your student ministry! Forward this article on to your pre-teen ministry leader.

There are a lot of jokes and crazy stories among youth pastors about middle schoolers, junior highers, or pre-teens—whatever you call them where you live and minister. One popular summer camp calls them the “electric chihuahuas.” Now, there’s a visual for you!

Pre-teens are known for their high energy level (especially mixed with sugar), often coupled with a “do it first, think about it later” mode of behavior. But, as you well know, if you’ve been in youth ministry very long at all, this is also the age where you can harness and guide that zest for life into a walk with Christ. The more solid a foundation we can help them build between 10 to 13 years old, the more likely they are to stand strong through high school and even become leaders in your youth group. We all know testimonies where the wildest, most out of control kid at 12 became the leader of the youth group by 16.

We all know there are no guarantees of the choices a kid will make, but our job is not to be driven by their choices, but ours.

Will we give them the resources and tools to build a strong spiritual foundation?

Will we provide the environment for them to grow in their relationship with Christ?

Will we inspire and challenge them to become young leaders in their generation for Christ?

It is so tempting, and often easy these days to forget that Jesus said to go and make disciples, not go and entertain the sheep.

Early discipleship is so crucial in youth ministry. Helping a student fall in love with Jesus and begin a lifelong friendship with Him can take care of many of the typical teenage temptations down the road. Teaching students how to spend time alone with God daily is one of the best ways to get them on that track in their relationship with Him.

So, the next time you’re frustrated by a goofy 7
th grader bouncing off your youth room walls or discouraged that your latest herd of junior high girls can’t stay off their phones and away from the mirror, just remember you are looking at a cache of diamonds in the rough and God’s heart is to build a generation of students who love Him with all their heart, mind, and soul.

Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. —1 Timothy 4:11-12

Keep on being an example to your students, teaching them how to be examples in life, love, faith, and purity.