If you want to see a volunteer run away as far and fast as they can, just mention you need help in the junior high ministry.
Working with middle schoolers requires a passion that is definitely God-given, and your junior high students deserve that passion just as much as every other student at your church.
As a leader, you understand the unique, and often smelly environment, that is junior high.
They can be awkward and clumsy, as well as, thoughtful and considerate.
Junior High students are a mish-mash of emotions, hormones, and energy all rolled up into an almost grown-up human being.
So it’s important, as adults and leaders not underestimate and undervalue their importance in serving Christ.
During these years, they are seeking trust but need wisdom.
They desire privacy but want interaction and communication.
They require understanding and really need direction.
It’s a constant tug-of-war between the desires of a child and the needs of a teen.
All too often, due to lack of staff and resources, churches decide to combine middle and high school students together.
But, it’s important to invest time, love, and effort into these young people and show them they are truly important at this stage in their life.
So, here are 3 Reasons Why Junior High Ministry Still Matters:
1. Junior High students are looking for role models.
They need people to look up to for guidance, but they are probably not going to come right out and say it.
As junior high students are growing more independent, they still have questions that need answers.
They need you.
Not just as the one who organizes tubing trips or goes with them to concerts and theme parks, but as someone to invest in them.
As a leader, you can impact these young men and women by pointing them in the right direction of following Christ.
And it does take time.
What exactly does time spent with junior high students look like?
It can look like playing basketball after school, followed by snacks and conversation.
It can look like an afternoon of girl time with a smoothie and shopping.
And that time is spent learning about likes and dislikes, dreams and ambitions, and leading these young people into God’s calling for their lives.
Besides parents and guardians, you may be one of the most important influences in their lives without even knowing it.
Find something in common with students and be a part of their discussions.
Be sure not to miss out on an opportunity to speak into their lives.
2. Junior High students are excitable.
If you’ve ever been on an outing with junior high students, you know that a 12-pack of Mountain Dew and an air-soft gun can be a dangerous combination.
Part of the excitement most junior high students exhibit can manifest itself as extreme emotions and hormones that are taking their tolls on young people who are learning how to manage them.
And that excitement can be contagious.
The energy that junior high students bring to a room is uncontainable.
They seem to become excited about almost anything at the drop of a hat.
High school students don’t understand their excitement and they can become annoyed with the enthusiasm of younger students.
But their passion can be a blessing to your ministry that others might overlook.
Focus their energy into your group.
Find the leaders, the influencers, the ones that others look up to.
Encourage and direct their energy to lead fellow students to participate in activities and events.
That fellowship can lead to excitement about godly things.
When the “cool kids” do it, others will be sure to follow.
3. Junior High students want to feel accepted.
Acceptance is one of the most powerful driving forces for all middle school students.
Their search for independence and how they will fit in with their peers influences their choices and activities.
Think about it – when you ask students if they want to attend an activity, the first question from their mouth is usually, “Who else is going?”
It usually doesn’t matter what the event is, just who will be there.
It’s in junior high that students discover what group they fit into, and many will form lifelong friendships.
Band, drama, sports, and other school activities provide opportunities for junior high students to find acceptance and friendship with others who have similar interests.
Along with forming relationships with peers from church and your junior high group.
The culture you create for junior high students can shape how they view things like serving, worship, fellowship, and acceptance.
Don’t give up the God-given gift and passion to minister to junior high students.
Although you may not see an immediate result or reward, you can know that you are joining with parents and other leaders in shaping the interests and desires of the future world-changers.
Long live junior high ministry.
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