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How to Lead and Guide Middle Schoolers Who Are Serving in Children's Ministry

Middle schoolers. Most children's ministries have middle schoolers serving in their ministry.

They can bring fun, laughter, youthful insight and energy.

But at times, they can bring too much of these things.

You will see them playing with the game toys instead of hanging with the kids. You will see them squirming and giggling during the lesson. You will have to remind them to change your media slides while you are teaching.

At times, it's like having more kids in the ministry. You can end up feeling overwhelmed from trying to corral your middle schoolers and get them to function properly so they can be an assets.

Here are some tips on leading and guiding the middle schoolers in your ministry.

(Many churches include 6th graders as part of their children's ministry. If that is the case, this would apply to your 7th graders.)

Meet with the middle schooler and their parent(s) privately before they begin serving. It's important for the parents to be involved.

Share your general expectations for middle schoolers who are serving. When you meet with the middle schooler and their parents, have a document that shares policies and procedures, wins, accountability and a job description (here is a complete list of job descriptions).

You can't hold middle schoolers accountable if they don't know what the guidelines are. Present the guidelines in writing. Have the middle schooler and their parent(s) both sign the document. Keep this document on hand in case you have a middle schooler who starts misbehaving or is hindering the kids in their group. You can sit back down with the middle schooler and their parents or guardian and review expectations.

Be sure they stay connected with student ministry. I have found that some middle schoolers serve in children's ministry because they don't feel like they fit in student ministry. Partner with your student ministry pastor/director to make sure middle schoolers who are serving in children's ministry are also an active part of student ministry. The student ministry pastor/director can work with them on this, but you should hold them accountable as well.

Invest in them. The middle school years can be tumultuous to say the least. Middle schoolers will gravitate toward leaders who truly care for them and want to see them grow spiritually and in their ministry skills.

Spend time talking with them. Give them tips for teaching and leading small groups. Train them how to operate a sound booth. Give them a solid book on leadership to read. I recommend the book Lead Well in Children's Ministry. Pray with them. Share a podcast with them. Give them feedback after observing them.