we had our sixth grade upgrade on thursday night.
perhaps the coolest blessing AND curse of middle school ministry is that every year is different. it's always a unique flavor as our turnover is three years instead of four for high school or college ministry.
at the beginning of every year, we feel so immature. it's fun, but by the time you feel like the group is coming together and you're hitting on all cylinders... bam, the year is over and it starts all over again. i don't think high school ministry faces this at such a high level. in september, 40% of our group has experienced puberty and by the end of the year we're looking at 70%. that is a lot of turbulent water to navigate as a leader.
to people who are new to the middle school field, i always like to give the following advice... middle school ministry is way more like children's ministry than it's like high school ministry. most people in youth ministry like to take their high school events and then just dumb them down for middle school... you can't really do that. you'll be more successful if you try to smart up children's ministry events.
here are some major differences between high school / middle school:
little sleep is necessary at events / 8 hours is necessary if you want to accomplish anything the next day.
abstract teaching is the norm / concrete teaching is needed with all dots connected and then reconnected.
say, "do i like you" / say, "do you like me"
free time is needed / free time is the enemy
won't do the hokey pokey / i'll do it if the leader is
mt. dew / caffeine free mt. dew
there are more, but those were on the top of my mind.