Over the summer we had Kids’ Camp at our church. As the Jr. High pastor I was asked to run the games for the week. I recruited a couple students to help me on a specific night. As the night got going and groups began showing up to my station, I was overwhelmed by the number of Jr. and Sr. High school students who were group leaders. I started trying to count and realized that nearly half of the leaders at Kids’ Camp were between 6th and 12th grades. Not only that, but the worship was entirely student-led for the week. Dramas were performed by students. Tech was run by students.
“Our students are completely running this event”.
This was the conclusion that myself and our Family Ministries Pastor, Nate, came to. Some of these students were putting in 20 or 30 hours that week helping to prep games, rehearse skits, and serve during the evening program. It was incredible for us to see.
But how did we get there? What did we do to get that many students on board and excited?
1. Get on the same team.
Make sure your Kids’ Ministry and Student Ministry teams are on the same team. If one ministry operates completely independently from the other, there will not be smooth transitions and there won't be cohesiveness.
2. Start them young.
If you want your students to be serving in middle school, kids’ ministry is where you need to start. Get the students excited about serving while they are still in the kids’ ministry. We have students leading worship, running tech, and performing skits and dramas.
3. Create positions.
I'm not talking about just setting up chairs and making copies. I'm talking about actual, meaningful positions. This could be leading worship for the preschool ministry, kids’ ministry, or their peers. It could be (for middle schoolers) being an assistant small group leader for the elementary or a leader in the preschool. We actually have middle schoolers who lead worship, communicate, and lead classes in our kids’ ministry.
4. Give away some control.
Do you have a kids’ camp or VBS? Get your students on board. Let them plan the games. Let them lead a small group or be in a skit. Whatever you do, let them have some ownership in it. If it is possible for you, empower your high school students to be small group leaders in your middle school ministry.
There are so many ways to get your students serving in your church. Serving is one of the most important things in the development of a student's faith. Teach them about serving. Encourage them to serve. Let them serve.
About The Author: Johnathan Baldwin
Johnathan is a youth pastor at Central Ministries who loves his wife, Sara, his 3 boys, youth ministry, sports, summertime, great coffee (depending on the situation, not so great coffee works too), his dog (Marcie), and, as of lately, a good book. Over the past couple years, Johnathan has felt a growing passion for guiding and empowering leaders. He believes that if we call people to greatness, they will achieve greatness.