Written by Mike Sheley

FREE RESOURCE: Back to School Parent Tool

I have had a child in middle school for the last three years. He’s now moved on to high school, but his younger brother just started middle school this year. When this middle school adventure went from being my ministry to other people’s kids to my ministry with my own kids, I noticed needs that I didn’t know about before.

In elementary school, my kids asked me to visit and join them for lunch. In middle school, it was the opposite. But I still wanted to connect with them without being cheesy or weird. That’s when I came across Lunch Box Notes.

Lunch Box Notes is 50 notes that include a short scripture combined with a quick pre-written note. Parents can use this resource to write a different lunch box note each day that gives a bit of spiritual encouragement to their child.

Parents love this resource, and the best part is that you can tell parents it’s from your student ministry. We have a great relationship with the folks over at ParentMinistry.net so check out this freebie and other resources they have available.

FroYo Tip for You

My daughter and I love going to our local favorite frozen yogurt shop for a little daddy-daughter time. However, how we enjoy our yogurt is quite different. I get a divider so I can pick up to four different flavors.

Once I fill that cup up with frozen yogurty goodness, I’m pretty much good to go. My daughter, however, may only pick one or two flavors. But she goes crazy at the topping bar, customizing her yogurt with everything from gummy bears to cookie dough.

I like to think that resources, like Lunch Box Notes, work the same way as froyo. You can take these notes and pass them out as-is. That’s the benefit of having a good, simple resource that can be used without tweaking.

But, you can also customize or add to the resource. If you have a specific series you are doing for back to school or as a whole church this fall, add some notes to this resource to make it fit your context.

Or you could totally mix it up and add bonus resources once parents have the original.  It could even be a simple list of other options.  For example, I found a site that shows you step-by-step how to draw cartoon characters.

I used that to draw a Frozen character for my daughter’s lunch. My son loves cars, so I found a site with a bunch of automotive trivia, including some about his favorite makes and models, and wrote some of those in his lunch.

And, sometimes kids just need a good joke, even in middle school. So writing something that will make them laugh is good, especially if it’s something they can share or something that’s an inside joke between the parent and child.

So, at the very least, you have a free resource to pass along to parents in your church.  And at most, you have a guide for customizing and adding to this resource to bless the students in your church through their parents.

(Oh, and if you want to make friends with your children’s pastor – or if you work with all the kids in your church, they have a children’s version of those notes available too on the same page!)

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

Back to School Ideas for Junior High Ministry

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.