Pre-teen/Jr. High ministry is a transitional period where young people may be moving from children’s ministry into high school youth ministry. This time becomes incredibly important as youth make huge developmental and emotional changes. They are just beginning to explore identity, grappling with an increased understanding of the world around them, and increased independence.
This time may be heavily influenced by Confirmation and the catechetical instruction leading up to it. Many congregations offer specific programming as a part of Confirmation preparation, and this may be a time when families who are marginally connected may come back to ensure young people are a part of this process. Great thought should go into Junior Confirmation and how it connects to family ministry, children’s ministry and high school ministry. This will allow the greatest opportunity for impact and retention.
Pre-teens are beginning to work out their identity and independence from parents, but it continues to be important to equip parents as faith leaders. While pre-teens are starting to value the input of their peers and other influencers more, parents continue to have the greatest influence in their priorities, identity and decision making.
It can also be valuable for pre-teens to start taking on larger service roles in the congregation and community as well as age-appropriate Bible study and programming with their peers. As young people are Confirmed, they become adults in the congregation. This transition should be met with increased expectations around service and spiritual practice. To engage in healthy Jr. High ministry, consider the Seven Healthy Practices of Youth Ministry.
- Warmth, Challenge, and Grace
- Supportive Adults
- Engaged Parents
- Opportunities for Service and Leadership
- Youth who Deeply Understand their Baptismal Faith
- Youth who have a Resilient Identity in Christ
- Youth who Live out Their Unique Vocation
YouthESource is LCMS Youth Ministry’s resource website which provides a variety of middle school youth resources. These are articles and resources particularly tagged for that category of resources.
Whether you’re a volunteer or a professional youth worker, Authentic Youth Ministry will encourage you to understand yourself better as a leader, work more confidently with your students, and embrace the privilege of seeing kids, parents, and entire families grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
End Goals is the podcast of LCMS Youth Ministry in the Office of National Mission. LCMS Youth Ministry Staff discuss practices for healthy youth ministry and interview practitioners who provide insight for experienced and new youth leaders.
Timeless Truth: An Essential Guide for Teaching the Faith helps faith leaders focus on equipping students for lifelong learning as they ask the big questions throughout life and look to the timeless truth of God’s Word for answers.
After assessing current trends in the faith development of youth, Dr. David Rueter wrote Teaching the Faith at Home: What Does This Mean? How Is This Done? to reveal why the historic model of teaching the catechism early in the home is key in keeping families connected to the Church. Catechesis that’s grounded in family life is not a new idea, but it’s one that our fast-paced culture often forgets and would do well to remember and cherish.
This book begins with an introduction to Eutychus, who is a paradigm of adolescent development. The book chapters are divided into three sections: 1. An overview of youth, youth ministry, and spirituality. 2. Lutheran theology’s unique contribution to youth ministry. 3. Putting Lutheran theology’s strengths to work in youth ministry.
Available from CPH, this little book, geared toward youth and sold in packs of 20, gives you the answers you need to approach questions about gender and sexuality from a godly, loving perspective.
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