In my previous post I mentioned that I’m reading the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins. In the book, Jim and his research team spent years searching for the answer to the question, “Why do some organizations make the leap from good to great?” As I’m reading it, the question that keeps popping in my mind is, “How can a preteen ministry make the leap from good to great?” In my previous post, I gave you what I believe to be the key #1: Ask God what he wants to do. A simple, yet critical and often overlooked step.
Many churches around the country are realizing what it takes to have a good preteen ministry. Good preteen ministries have engaging and relevant weekend services. They recruit/train fantastic leaders who have a passion to point preteens to Jesus. Good preteen ministries host life changing camps and fun relational events throughout the year. They have small groups that help preteens do life together with God in the picture. But great preteen ministries go a step further. Which brings us to key #2.
Key #2: Discover & Develop a Preteen Pastor
An important key to a great preteen ministry is the presence of a preteen pastor. The preteen pastor is both teacher and leader. He takes on the role of teacher and often gives the “message” at weekend services. He spends time listening to God during the week and prepares a weekend program specific to what God is saying to the group. He understands preteens and how to communicate to them in a relevant way. The preteen pastor is also the leader. He empowers others to teach preteens and lead small groups. He’s in charge of casting vision and implementing strategy. His role is recruiting, developing, training and nurturing the team.
A preteen pastor can take many forms. The role could be filled by a male or female. He could be a volunteer, part-time or full-time. He could be young or old.
You might be the preteen pastor. If so, great! Maybe that’s not your title, but as you read the above description your heart leaps because I’m describing you. Know that you’re a huge asset to a great preteen ministry. Step into your role and soar! Maybe you’re not the preteen pastor, but instead oversee all of children’s ministry (or youth ministry). Your role is to identify a preteen pastor.
How do you identify a preteen pastor? Look at your current leaders and ask God to show you someone who might be a good candidate. Give him more responsibility and see how he does. As he does good with what you give him, trust him with a little more. Slowly build him up to lead the entire ministry.
Once you discover the preteen pastor, develop and equip him. Believe in him before he believes in himself. Look for his spiritual gifts and help him to excel in them. Give him resources and training on how to reach preteens. Help him to understand the social, physical, emotional and spiritual changes preteens are experiencing. Help him discover what makes a preteen ministry unique. Train him to help preteens own their relationship with Jesus. If you are the preteen pastor, and there is no one to develop/equip you, then make it a priority to get training on your own. Here’s a list of some great preteen related resources to get you started. Don’t stop there, go to the 2012 preteen leaders’ conference April 18-20 in Rocklin, CA. Discover how to let go and allow preteens to own their faith. Become a student of preteen ministry and connect with others leading preteens. For a preteen pastor to be effective, he has to be equipped. If you’re the equipper, then equip. If you’re the one needing to be equipped, then get equipped.
Stay tuned for key #3 to a great preteen ministry…coming soon!