Every kid in the country can taste summer! It’s time to jump in the pool, sleep in, and hang out with friends for hours on end. But summer time also means transition is inevitable. Soon a new crew of middle schoolers will enter spastically and awkwardly into youth ministry. Uprising freshman will finally experience high school youth ministry. For most, it is an exciting time and welcome change, yet others students may get lost in transition.
Will they fit in? Will they know anybody? Will it be fun?
We can help answer these questions and encourage students by making an intentional effort to connect with them during their transition. Here are a few ways to help students have a successful transition into a new and beautiful season of youth ministry:
Connect while students are still a part of children’s ministry. Partner with the children’s ministry director to be a ministry team member students know in 4th and 5th grade.
Plan transition events prior to your move up date. This can be as easy as having a graduation pool party hosted and planned by some of the existing youth members and their families. You might also include these students in some of the summer youth events before their transition date. Being met by a few familiar faces on their first night of youth group will help these students feel connected.
Send your congratulations and a welcome packet to families of grade school and middle school graduates. Packets can include a card to the student signed by the children’s ministry staff and youth staff, exciting information about being a part of the youth ministry, and testimonials from youth ministry members.
Make phone calls to students in transition. Ask if they got their packet, congratulate them, and let them know you look forward to getting to know them more through youth ministry. Ask them if they have any questions or if they feel scared about moving into a new program.
Host a special graduation lunch or dinner event for graduating 8th graders. Let them know you’re proud of them. Have a few high school leaders come and encourage them. Send these new high schoolers home with a gift and information about high school ministry.
Have students pray for each other. On move up night/weekend, senior youth members can pray over uprising middle school and high school students.
What is this move up night/weekend I’m referring to? Plan a date with the children’s ministry that marks the weekend students will transition from children’s ministry into youth ministry and from middle school to high school ministry.
Summer transitions are exciting! I hope these ideas will help us reach out to students who might get lost in transition.