Moving On Up To Middle School is a Faith Milestone with dessert and a panel discussion for 5th graders AND their parent(s). The panel is made up of a dad and his daughter, a son and his mom who are living in a 6th grade spring. Though many of our 7th graders just started this year in a typical middle school setting, we focused on the students and faces of those who aged out of children’s ministry most recently. Our 5th graders remember them and they have shared experiences with those who just aged up.

Initial communication: 5th graders and their parents are invited to join us for dessert and a panel discussion about Middle School on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 6-7:30pm in the Children’s Welcome Center.

Secondary communication: Your home church wants to help your family navigate this big move to middle school with confidence, information, and tools for success. 5th grade students AND parents are invited for dessert to a panel discussion and Q&A on Wednesday, March 30, 6-7:30pm in the Children’s Welcome Center of the Christian Life Center/Gym building. Park and enter at the McEachern Kids entrance. 

Promotion: Social media, bulletin, mailed full-page invites to all 5th graders, emails from church database.

Arrival activity: Student chooses a combination lock; parent chooses a Prayer Book. Students attempt to open the combination lock with NO help from their parents. No help. No words. Nothing. Just smile.

6-6:30pm: Panel discussion with surprises and wins of going to Middle school. Instruct the students to hand their combination locks to their parents for opening, which they do quickly much to the surprise of their students.

6:30-7pm: Youth Group take over with golf pencils and People Bingo game
In order to familiarize our 5th graders/parents with the youth space, we made arrangements with the youth leadership to ‘take over’ with a game to get to know one another. After the chaos of getting each space filled with a name with all ages and all stages participating, we invited each person to stand who met the criteria of the space. So much fun getting to know others who shared in those attributes/experience criteria. I then shared what to expect for them all working together this summer at the summer drive-in services (our family VBS weekly Thursday night in June experience). The youth group gave the 5th graders a silicone verse bracelet as they left.

7-7:30pm: Offered dessert with water. We took questions and some encouragement from the parents who’d navigated middle school with older siblings; offered confetti tubes to the students to save for a future day of celebration and wooden palm crosses for the students to use in prayer.
I shared that just like their parents knew how to work a combination lock, their parents know WAY MORE than a middle schooler thinks they do. Their parents love them best and will help them navigate a life lived for Jesus in combination with their home church. This is where they belong!
The Stormie Omartian book has 30 short chapters ending with prayers which I used each day of the month when my kids were in middle/high school. It’s the best book with scripture prayers for their children and their children’s friends I’ve ever used. The chapter on praying through a child’s room is gold and the book is our gift to our parents.

This is the first step in offering a fun and engaging bridge from children’s ministry to student ministry. Next stop: Summer drive-in service training together for neighborhood pop-ins coming in May. 

How do you begin to bridge your students from children’s ministry to student ministry?

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” Hebrews 3:4