5 Ways to Value Middle schoolers
The Middle School years are some of the most challenging years for those students within your ministry. Middle School students sometimes can have a bad reputation within our ministries. Throughout the years I have found the value in our sixth to eighth graders and here are five ways that you can value you Middle School students.
Middle Schoolers bring Energy
One of the main things that I love about the Middle School students is that they have energy and life. Every week I have students who run in who are excited to come into the church. Why? Because they do not care about what other people think about them, but more importantly they are trying to find out their identity. Middle School students want to play games and participate in activities. They want to answer questions being asked in small groups. When you see a student answering every question, see it as a positive because they want to participate.
Answering questions and raising their hands brings energy to your ministry because students are listening to your message. In my setting of ministry, I have found that the Middle School students answering questions and participating in small groups cause our High Schoolers to step up to lead and participate.
Middle Schoolers bring Technology
We all know that technology changes every day it seems. All the changes in technology cause apps on phones to be created and our students to use their phones within the student ministry. I have found that having Middle Schoolers in ministry helps you to stay up to date with technology.
When new apps come to the app store students come and ask me if I played the latest game or have the new app that came out. Why is that important? It allows for there to be a bonding relationship made within our ministry. It allows for me to find new ways to communicate and minister to the students that God has given to me. The more technology that your students introduce to you the better. Do not see it as a threat or a negative, but in every form of technology is another way for you to minister to students.
Middle Schoolers bring Questions
I love the questions that come out of the students within our ministry. Middle School students and in particular younger Middle School students are not worried about what other people think about them. As the students get older and in eighth grade, they begin to worry about what other people think of them more. When that happens, you will see the students come to you or your staff privately to ask questions.
Questions are a great thing, and when they are asked of you or your staff, it means someone values you and your volunteers. Allow Middle School students ask questions because it will lead to them trusting and valuing your team more. Later in ministry, you will be thankful you earned their trust when they were in their Middle Years.
Middle Schoolers bring Momentum
In your ministry, you will see momentum begin within your Middle School ministry. Not saying it will not come first to a High School ministry, but when your Middle School students buy in and experience God, they bring momentum to your whole ministry.
When we take our Middle School students away on our yearly Middle School retreat, our goal has always been to train and build leadership skills within our students. Why? When you make momentum to your Middle School students, it allows them to take that same energy into their High School years. We must let our Middle School students lead now because it will enable them to form leadership skills and take ownership. When students take ownership, you will begin to see momentum occur within your ministry.
Middle Schoolers are Real
Lastly, Middle School students are real and have no reason to be fake with us. Authenticity is something to be valued. When you ask a Middle Schooler what they think, you will hear the truth from them. You may not always like what you hear back, but remember they are real with you.
Allow your students to be authentic, and that will then lead them to stay authentic through every year of your student ministry. I have a student that I allowed to be authentic and genuine with me in 8th grade. Now, he is a senior in High School, and he can still be real with me and honest. When we allow our students and encourage authenticity, you will see students have value within your ministry.
Each of these five things by themselves is valuable, but when combined they bring value to your ministry. Students are not looking for just another student ministry; they are seeking a place where they have a voice and are valued. Allow your students to serve, be real, and set momentum. Because at the end of the day, it is their ministry, not ours.