BY: lhawkins

 

Welcome to Youth Group! Helping Students and Parents Transition Into Youth Ministry

By Andrew Davis

As youth pastors, we must be intentional about how we welcome our new 6th or 7th graders into the youth ministry. Church involvement can be a very positive aspect of the lives of new middle schoolers. This is also a significant time in the lives of their parents as well, and we should try to be just as welcoming and inclusive to the new parents as we are to the new students. 

Perhaps you remember your first day in middle school. It was scary! You were the new kid, the youngest in the group. You probably had many questions swirling in your head. “Will I be cool enough?” “Where do I go?” “What do I do?” “Will people like me?” Youth today still wrestle with the same questions and the same fears. Your youth group can be a fantastic place that empowers these new 6th or 7th graders, where the messages they hear are empowering. “You are more than cool enough!” “You are right where you need to be!” “You are doing great!” and “We love you!” 

Your youth ministry can speak into parents’ concerns and fears as well. Your parents need to know that there is a place in your church where their children can go and feel safe, encouraged, and empowered to deal with life. 

Here are two ideas to help your youth ministry welcome your new students and their parents as they transition into youth group.

 

Make a Personal Connection with the New Student AND Their Parents

Never underestimate the power of a personal invitation. This may be difficult for many youth pastors, because it sometimes feels like we are used car salesmen cold calling teenagers and their parents. But, connecting personally with your new students and their parents may be the most effective method of invitation out there. Here are a few ideas for how you can make personal connections with the new students and their parents before they even come to your youth group.

 

Have a “Big Event” or “Youth Group Orientation” for Your New Students

You should have one big event in the summer specifically for your new students and their parents. Get creative and give it an appealing, fun, welcoming name. Maybe it’s “Welcome to Youth Group Party” or “6th Grade Orientation” or even “Super Big Fun Awesome Pizza Time!”

“They won’t care what you know until they know how much you care,” is one of the most cliche sayings, but I have found it to be very true in the context of student ministry. By making personal connections and hosting a big event for your new students, you are letting your rising students and their parents know how much you and your youth group care about them.

 

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