Last Saturday, I had the privilege of attending parts of the Toronto Children’s Ministry Conference. (Tanya Yuen was one of the key organizers.) At face value, it may not make sense for the “youth guy” to be at a children’s ministry conference. However, strengthening a child’s move from children’s ministry to youth ministry is crucial.
A few years ago, Tanya and I wrote a booklet called “Faith Formation in Children and Youth: The Big Picture and the Shifts in Between”. We outline extensively ways a church can support children and youth when they’re traversing from one life/ministry stage to the next. (Take a look specifically at pages 35-41.)
Here are some key considerations:
- Begin the discussion now. The children’s ministry point leader and the youth ministry point leader should be discussing what that handover looks like, and timeline what needs to be in place by when.
- Find ways to build bridges with the parents. This could take place in a special parents night or through individual conversations.
- Find ways to overlap the two ministries. Perhaps recruit some older youth to volunteer occasionally in the children’s ministry or invite some of the “graduating” children to a special event with the jr. high/youth group.
- Identify a time when the church as a whole can celebrate that transition. E.g. Mimico Baptist Church hosts a grade 6 graduation where the graduates share their learnings during their time in the children’s ministry, and the church welcomes them into the “adult church”.
The key here is the children’s ministry worker and youth ministry worker both need to be on the same page. That’s the starting point in building a strong bridge between the two ministries.