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

3. Providing Youth Guides

Yes, it’s important to have youth leaders and teachers contact preteens via phone calls, e-mails, regular mail, and personal meetings. But also ask several youth with servants’ hearts to help with the transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry.

If possible, assign a youth guide to each preteen. The youth guide is responsible to help the preteen get acquainted and involved in the ministry. Also provide preteens with the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the youth and youth leaders, and vice versa.

4. Establishing a Timeline

Collaborate with your youth minister to develop the timeline, and then share it with your senior pastor. In the article Transition Time Tips, ministry veteran Dale Hudson shares a sample schedule for the transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry:

12 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, leaders from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leaders introduce themselves and greet the kids.

9 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, leaders from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leaders make an announcement about the move and get kids excited about it.

6 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, leaders from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leaders make an announcement about the move and get kids excited about it.
  • Put the announcement in your Parent Take-Home paper and on Facebook, the church website, pre-service slides and other ways you communicate with parents.

4 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, leaders from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leaders make an announcement about the move and lead part of the service, such as a game or song.
  • Put the announcement in your Parent Take-Home paper and on Facebook, the church website, pre-service slides and other ways you communicate with parents.
  • Begin inviting preteens who will transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry and their parents to a special celebration in their honor.

3 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, leaders from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leaders make an announcement about the move and lead part of the service, such as a game or song.
  • Put the announcement in your Parent Take-Home paper and on Facebook, the church website, pre-service slides and other ways you communicate with parents.

2 weeks out

  • Transition connection in each room. During service, leaders from each environment visit the kids who are preparing to transition into their environment. Leaders make an announcement about the move and teach the lesson.
  • Have an Open House after the service. Invite parents to check out their child’s new environment.
  • Put the announcement in your Parent Take-Home paper and on Facebook, the church website, pre-service slides and other ways you communicate with parents.

1 week out

  • Kids go visit their new environments during service for a few minutes.
  • Have an Open House after the service. Invite parents to check out their child’s new environment.
  • Put the announcement in your Parent Take-Home paper and on Facebook, the church website, pre-service slides and other ways you communicate with parents.
  • Have a special celebration for preteens who are making the transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry. Make it a family event and invite parents and siblings to join in. Here are some ideas:
    • Memory video or slide show from their time in children’s ministry.
    • Worship
    • Introduce staff and volunteers. Have them give a brief overview of their ministry and cast a vision.
    • A talk by the children’s pastor/director.
    • Testimonies and blessings from some volunteers.
    • Testimonies by some preteens.
    • Parental blessing spoken over children by parents.
    • Prayer of blessing over children by children’s pastor/director.
    • Gift to each preteen.
    • Time of food and fellowship afterward in the youth area. Staff and leaders are available to meet kids and parents and answer questions.

The week of

  • Send communications to parents via regular mail, email, Facebook, text, Twitter, etc. Include details such as age groupings and classroom names.

Afterward

After the transition from children’s ministry to youth ministry, follow up with the youth minister, parents, and preteens. Check in to see how each child is acclimating to the youth ministry community and to offer help as needed.

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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.