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Tips and Timelines for Making the Transition From Children’s Ministry to Youth Ministry


When preteens are ready to make the move from kidmin to youth group, it’s helpful to have a plan and program in place. Begin the transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry about three months out, and focus on events and activities that celebrate the kids.

In such a program, you can take a variety of important steps and put everyone at ease.

Create a smooth transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry by:

1. Holding Informational Meetings

Send a letter to parents explaining the coming transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry. Include a greeting from youth teachers or leaders, along with their contact information. Invite parents and children to attend an informational meeting.

Here are some ideas:

  • Choose a theme for the meeting. Transition-related examples include Building a Bridge, Movin’ Up, Taking the Challenge, etc.
  • Engage in interactive activities that involve preteens, parents, children and youth ministers. These activities will help everyone get to know one another. Try a scavenger hunt with each team comprising a preteen, a youth, a children’s worker, and a youth worker.
  • Let the youth pastor give a presentation introducing the youth ministry to parents and kids. During it, have them explain the ministry’s mission and vision, as well as introduce some staff members.
  • Afterward, serve refreshments and encourage social time. That way, kids and parents can meet and talk one-on-one with the youth pastor and staff.

2. Sponsoring Get-Connected Events

Several months before the actual “moving” date, plan weekly or monthly youth ministry events that include preteens. Plan these events with the specific purpose of introducing preteens to the youth and youth ministry.

At these events, engage in activities that encourage relationship-building between preteens and older youth. Here are some ideas:

  • Preteen Retreat – Invite preteens on an overnight retreat with youth ministry staff and several youth. Include activities such as ropes courses, canoeing or rafting, cooperative group games, as well as times of worship and prayer.
  • Game Nights
  • Laser Tag
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Youth Bonfire
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Curt Knowles is a member of the International Children’s Ministry teaching team. He has trained children’s ministers globally and throughout the United States. He and his wife, Sandy, have served as children’s pastors, evangelists, and camp directors over the past 15 years. Curt holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in both Computer Science and Theology, and has worked as a Data Architect/Engineer for the past 25 years. Curt and Sandy have two children (Jordan and Jeremy) and three granddaughters (Maddie, Emmy, and Chloe). They currently live in Gallatin, TN and serve on the 3Trees Kids Ministry serve team at 3Trees Church in Russell Springs, KY.