Last week was a pretty great one at my church because we hosted Vacation Bible Adventure for a whole bunch of kids. About 1/2 way through the week though I realized that I was spending a bunch of my time engaging with and encouraging High School and Middle School students. It was a good problem to have. One of the things we’ve figured out right over the years was how to get our older students connected into the children’s ministry. Students need connection points and for us VBA is a great one because we need so many volunteers. We had students running recreation, co-leading small groups, doing set up and tear down for events, working in childcare and acting as greeters. For the most part all of those students were paired up with adults who interacted with them every day for up to 5+ hours.
We are making a big push at our youth ministry to get students involved in the life of the church. Like most churches we have a lot of students who move into different ministry areas because of their age and grade but just never seem to really get connected. For us, our children’s ministry is a really good place for us to keep them connected. Every week we have a team of students who run sound, do hand motions, participate in dramas and act as big buddies for our preschool kids.
So I have two challenges to you as a youth worker. 1. Talk to your children’s director and see if there are already HS and MS kids serving in their ministry. If they are go and cheer them on. If they are not talk about partnerships that would help you encourage involvement. It may be something big like a VBA program or something regular like Sunday involvement. 2. Remember that many of the kids in the children’s program will be in your program soon. Building relationships and investing in them early is a big deal and can pay huge dividend’s as they enter the Youth Department having already seen how you care for students and knowing that you aren’t against the ministry they’ve been a part of for years.