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Thoughts on Middle School Youth Ministry

Middle school ministry can be a very trying time for a leader. Sometimes working with middle schoolers, you wonder if anything you are doing is effective. Recently, we started taking a group of students on Wednesday’s to McDonald’s before our student ministry service. It was a small group of middle schoolers, and it slowly grew and grew! It brought up some thoughts about middle school ministry that I wanted to share with you:

  1. Not everyone is cut out for middle school ministry– Do not just throw someone into work with 7th graders. We have been guilty of this, and it is plain and simple NOT EVERY LEADER IS EQUIPPED TO WORK WITH MIDDLE SCHOOLERS! Some are, and some are not. We just recruited a guy who is able and desires to work with middle schoolers, but there are many on our leadership team who have personalities that adjust better to high school students.
  2. Middle school ministry requires patience– I have to be much more patient when working with an 8th grader than an 11th grader. They do things that sometimes drive me crazy, but we have to remember we were just as immature at a stage in our life! If you have no patience, I would recommend not working with middle school unless you are begging God to teach you patience .
  3. Middle schoolers need a plan or they will make a plan– This is extremely important. Sometimes, high schoolers want a more casual environment, and do not need as much structure. If you plan like this for middle school, you are in trouble, because they will create their own “wacky” plan for you! When working with middle school, have a structure and a plan to the event.
  4. Middle schoolers need to be taught the basics– Sometimes we get frustrated, because the middle schoolers are not grasping the material like a high school student! Remember, they are younger, and MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS! Do not expect them to be like a senior when they are in the 8th grade. It is okay to dream them there, but not totally expect it or you will be disappointed.
  5. Middle school ministry is energetic and fun– I actually love it. Our student ministry’s energy is driven by our middle school students right now. They are excited and involved in everything that we do right now.

Question: Do you work with middle school students? If so, what are the best/worst ways that you communicate with middle school students?

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Josh Evans is the family pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He has served in this position since June of 2014. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students since 2006. Josh is passionate about seeing life change in families and teaching them the truths of the Word of God. Josh is a blogger, speaker, family pastor, and die-hard Duke Blue Devils fan! Josh and his wife Abby were married in February of 2008, and those years have been the happiest years of his life. Josh and Abby have two kids. Lynlee and Cameron. Josh and his family live in the Jacksonville, FL area. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.