Home Children's Ministry Leaders Children's Ministry Blogs Key #4 to a Great Preteen Ministry: The Ripple Effect

Key #4 to a Great Preteen Ministry: The Ripple Effect

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing what I believe are the keys to a great preteen ministry.

In the previous “good to great” post, I wrote about how programming comes second to relationships. In other words, it’s more important to focus on building relationships with leaders, preteens and parents than programming. However, good programming does play a role in a great preteen ministry.

Key #4 – Good programming creates the ripple effect.

What’s Programming? It’s the programs you have for preteens. It includes midweek, weekend services, camp, relational events, outreaches and everything else you do to reach preteens.

Relationships starts the ripple, good programming creates the ripple effect.

Relationships begin the ripple. The ripple is started when a newcomer shows up for the first time and connects with leaders and peers. The ripple begins when preteens find friends who are also following Jesus and they begin to do life together with God in the picture. The ripple is iniates when a preteen shares with a leader how he is struggling with his parents recent divorce.

Good programming takes what God is doing in the context of relationships and expands it, moving it outward. Much like what happens when a rock hits the water. The rock hits the water and initiates impact (relationships) and then the ripple effect (programming) expands the impact. It grows wider and bigger.

Good programming creates the ripple effect. It takes what God is doing in relationships and expands it. A good video at a weekend service is most effective when preteens have a safe place, a small group, to talk about how the video impacted them. Otherwise, it’s just a cool video they quickly dismiss as they turn on their iPhone on the ride home. A good summer camp is most effective when the life-changing experience can be continued, with friends and leaders.

So, what does good programming look like? That’s another post, no room here to elaborate. Just be sure to first focus on creating and developing relationships, then focus on good programming. Avoid the mistake I’ve made and make good programming the focus at the expense of relationships. Programming is most effective when relationships are strong throughout the group.

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Over twelve years ago Nick Diliberto lauched a preteen ministry with a handful of volunteers and about 25 kids. Over the years it grew to over 100 kids and has impacted hundreds of young people's lives. Nick is the driving force behind PreteenMinistry.net, Children's Director at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, workshop speaker and author of an ongoing preteen column in Children's Ministry Magazine.