Unfortunately I have spoke to too many Student Ministers who just feel that Junior High Ministry is an afterthought. Junior High Ministry is something we have to do along with our High School Ministry. We do it just to keep people happy. Many times I will sit down and ask different Ministers what they are doing with Junior High Ministry? The answer I get is usually something like, “I don’t have time to do Junior High Ministry. I’m too busy, so I just let somebody else do it.” These are the same Ministers who struggle to get High School students to go below the surface.
High School students many times have already made their choice as to how important a relationship with God is to them, and it is harder to get them to let God in. If we help a Junior High Student build a foundation of faith we get High School student who, while still making mistakes and errors in judgement, will also have a base line for their decision making.
If you want a growing, thriving, serving, worshiping, and loving High School youth group then focus on your Junior High Students. Teach them about worship. Teach them about service. Show them how to thrive in ministry. Love them. This is what helps them learn and grow into the students God wants them to be. Challenge your Junior High students to be followers of Jesus and you will end up with High School students who are followers of Jesus.
Here are a couple of things for us to understand in ministry.
1. Be Ministry Minded
What good does it do to have the greatest High School minister in the world if your children’s, Worship, and Senior Ministers don’t really try that hard. You must have a good team. We all have special areas we are focused on, but we must see the big picture. We must care about all the areas and ages of ministry.
If you have the opportunity to talk with the person who works with the area younger than yours then take advantage of the opportunity. Let them know what areas your incoming students are lacking in. Maybe it is discipline. Maybe it is knowing the books of the Bible. Maybe it is knowing what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Whatever could be communicated better is what you should talk to them about. It may be an awkward conversation at first, but I believe it is a conversation that will produce fruit in your ministry.
3. Follow up
Wow! I cannot emphasize enough the importance of follow up and encouragement. If you are a Junior High Minister and you are communicating with your Children’s Minister then make sure you follow up. Let them know when things are working well. Tell this person what you really appreciate about the work they do with the students heading into your ministry. This will only be to your benefit in the long run. If you are working with a High School Minister and they tell you about some issues. Follow up with them, and let them know about things you are doing to try to improve areas of your ministry. We should be concerned with the understanding a student has when they leave our ministry.
These are some of the things that can make your Junior High Ministry a significant part of your church. It is more than just Junior High Ministry, it is a ministry of God. To answer the question in the title of this post, “We all should!” Junior High Ministry can be one of the areas of highest growth for your church, and their can be great development of followers of Jesus in this area.
We must do whatever we can to develop followers of Jesus!