Many times when the new 7th graders come into the Youth Department, there is a scary, inadequate, unsure feeling among them. Sometimes that first semester and even year is the hardest for them in Sunday School and ministry. It is our job as leaders to help to facilitate the transition into the teen department and to help them to grow as teens serving the Lord.
Here are a few ideas to help Jumpstart your Junior High:
Your new Junior High students and even new weekly visitors will already feel a little out of place being in a new youth department. The YP and the other leaders must be sure to be a smiling welcoming face to those new teens.
*Prepare them a Welcome Pack-
Of course include a visitor card, but also give them a bag of goodies. A candy bar, can of pop, youth group paraphernalia, a devotional book, and a personalized welcome letter from the YP.
*Learn their Names-
Take your visitor cards and make a roster, but also make a prayer list that you can use to pray over. Then use them to memorize the new teens’ names.
Especially with transitioning 7th graders, parents are a little nervous about their “kids” being with the older teens.
*Spend some time investing in your relationship with the parents. Let them know the purpose and plan of your youth ministry. Reassure them that you are not a replacement, but instead an extension of the home. Give them a call or have them over for dinner. If your ministry is larger, have a meeting for all of the parents to communicate this to all of them at once.
*Plan an activity just for the Junior High. Give them an opportunity to have fun with the other teens but without the Senior High stress.
A board game night, a nerf war, or something simple will suffice. This just helps the YP and workers to spend some time with the new teens.
*Use the visitor cards to send Birthday cards and encouraging notes to your teens. Many YPs use cell phones and social media to stay in touch, and with proper parameters this is great; but there is something about opening a piece of mail that is yours when you are a young person!
If you have been doing your job, these teens have been looking forward to the Teen Department their whole lives, don’t disappoint.
*Get to Know your Children’s Department. It is your 5th and 6th graders who will soon be your Youth Department. The YP should regularly make appearances and get to know the next group that is coming up.
*Get the Junior High Involved Immediately. They will do just about anything! Use them! From taking up offering, passing out papers, counting something, cutting paper, cleaning up… Help them to learn to serve and to use that desire to be involved NOW!
Jumpstarting your Junior High will soup up Senior High!
William Davis | YP
Clays Mill Road Baptist Church