by Mike Sheley

Ever since Creation we have known that it is not good for us to be alone. However, sometimes in youth ministry, and especially in junior high or middle school ministry, it can feel like no one else does what we do or understands us.

That’s why community is so important. Don’t get me wrong. We need all the different parts of the body of Christ. But there is also a strong value in connecting with like-minded people who are trying to help middle schoolers get to know and follow Jesus.


Middle School Ministry Campference

What if you could go to a training event, a conference, and didn’t have to take care of housing and meals in addition to registering for the conference? And what if this event allowed you to have casual conversations over meals, between sessions and even while zip-lining with the main session and workshop leaders?

That is exactly what the Youth Cartel’s Middle School Ministry Campference is! This event allows you to build that community with people who are all gathering specifically to talk about junior high and middle school students, their families and everything ministry-related to them.

The next one is coming up soon, October 9-11, so check out their site for more details and to register here.

Orange Tour Middle School Tribe Gathering

Whether you are all in with Orange or just would like a local opportunity to connect with like-minded ministry people, there may be a perfect opportunity coming your way soon.

The folks behind the middle school division of Orange are hosting a Middle School Tribe Gathering for a little over an hour the night before each stop on the Orange Tour. You can get all the details here. It will include dinner, conversation, and a panel discussion in twelve cities across the country. Check it out!


Facebook Groups

If you’d like to build community with people around the country but not leave the comforts of your office or just want to save some money on all the costs associated with travel and conferences, there are some great groups you can connect with in the world of social media. is a closed Facebook group focused on our tribe. If you do some searching, you might also find a middle school ministry group in your city or region. These are great ways to share ideas, have conversations, and be challenged and encouraged by like-minded people using the medium of Facebook.


What about all the other forms of social media? Pictures and videos on Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo. Brief posts on Twitter. Use hashtags! Search for hashtags like: #msmin, #jrhighmin, #jrhighministry, #msministry and more! You can find everything from great posts people have put out for their own students, parents and leaders to conversations and helpful content for you as a fellow youth worker!

National Network of Youth Ministries

This is not junior high specific, but it is a way for you to connect with local youth ministers as a starting point. This site is designed to help us build community in youth ministry world so we can all do a better job reaching young people for Christ. So, use this tool to find a local network. Then contact them to find out if anyone knows about a specific junior high network or if they have any meetings where that is the specific topic!



We may not love email, but it is still a powerful communication tool. If you check out a few local churches via their websites, you can easily send an email to their youth pastor and find out who works with junior highers. Then, find out if they are connected to a local network. This might be a good way for you to connect with one or two people. Or it could end up helping you connect with a local network of people specifically discussing and encouraging each other about middle school ministry!

Phone Call

For some of you, this may be the last thing you think about when it comes to your phone. Instead of just texting, using social media apps, or email, actually use your phone to call a local youth worker. Set up a time to get together for coffee, lunch, or whatever works for you and decide to focus that conversation on middle school ministry.

That one phone call could be hard and awkward. But it could also be the beginning of a friendship and partnership in ministry that reminds you how much support and help is out there in your own community!

Take the First Step Today

I have provided a variety of options and resources. Don’t let your eyes glaze over and become overwhelmed. Just pick one and get started today.

Ask to be included in the Facebook group. Start your own Facebook group, email list, or monthly gathering of pizza eating to discuss middle school ministry.

Whatever you do, remember that we were never designed to do life or ministry alone. And while we do need to connect with other people in the church outside of youth ministry, there is also great value and health in taking the steps to connect with people who eat, sleep and breath junior high ministry.

We’re a weird bunch and we need to stick together!

Liked this blog post? You’ll also enjoy this one…

How to Create Epic Junior High Ministry Events

BubbleMikeMike is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he oversees their ministries for 5th-8th graders.  He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 15 years with most of that time focused on preteens and junior highers.

Photo by Adelie Freyja Annabel and used under a Creative Commons License from

Looking for great photography for free for your ministry? Check out and use the Creative Commons filter.