Every year around this time, youth ministries welcome new members to the ministry while at the same time saying goodbye to graduated seniors as they take off for college. It’s a strange dynamic of saying goodbye to students who you have developed strong relationships with and meeting baby-faced middle schoolers who seem culture shocked.
So the question becomes: How do we get new students integrated into the life of the ministry so that they, like our departing seniors, are set up for a lifetime of following Jesus.
May I suggest 3 starting points:
1. Do a 6th Grade Student/Parent/Staff Meet-n-Greet!
It’s important that students come to know and love you as the youth pastor. It’s equally important that parents come to know and TRUST you. Plan a time to meet parents, cast vision, and answer questions.
2. Give extra focus on getting the 6th Graders into a Small Group.
Before just asking students to show up at a Small Group on a Wednesday or Sunday night, let your 6th Graders meet their leaders on a Sunday morning. Create some buzz and excitement. Show your new students this is a place the can be known, have a blast, and pursue Jesus.
3. Get your upperclassmen passionate about integration.
This last week, our incoming 6th Graders visited our Sunday service for the first time. Next week they promote. After I dismissed the 6th Graders, I challenged my upperclassmen to be family. I challenged them to be spiritual big brothers and sisters who take care of each other. More specifically, I pushed them to reach out to our new family members over the next few Sundays as get settled in our ministry.
How do you help make this transition smooth? Comment below!