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FourFiveSix.org: Great Ideas for your Preteen Ministry

Looking for great (game, object lessons, worship, volunteer celebration, etc. etc.) ideas to take your preteen ministry to the next level? This podcast is created and curated by FourFiveSix.org, a community of leading voices in preteen ministry. Our goal is simple: a short (4,5, or 6 minute) podcast a few times a week (4, 5, or 6 times) that gives you a quick, easy, free idea that you can use in your preteen ministry THIS WEEK. Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast? Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Want to get more great ideas right now? Come join the community of preteen leaders at fourfivesix.org
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Mar 13, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Deandra Ziegler about small group nights.

Deandra discusses the small groups nights they do 4 x’s a year at their church. “All Small Groups” occurs on either a Wednesday or Sunday for the entire hour of that service time. Each small group leader plans their groups event (bible study, combining with another group to do a game, or whatever the leader comes up with) and after attendance is taken they leave to go do their small group get together. Deandra explains how holding these events, especially at the beginning of the year, allows for a great foundation to be built in the small groups.

Sean asked how leaders know what to do, especially a new leader coming into the ministry. Deandra explains that they send out newsletters to their volunteers. A couple weeks before the event they send out information with the philosophy behind the event, some ideas of things that have been done, some game ideas. This is all done on campus due to security reasons they are not allowed off campus.  If you have questions about Deandra’s “All Small Group” night you can click here.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Mar 12, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Zach Matchett about effectively communicating the gospel with preteens.

Effectively communicating the gospel to preteens includes giving more opportunities to work it in to the teaching. How do you make the gospel in a digestible way for preteens to truly understand all the what questions that might come up for them? Zach suggests repetition, specifically in phrases he uses in his teachings. For example, “Jesus lived the life that we couldn’t live” and on the flip side “Jesus died the death we deserved.”  Secondly, utilizing tactile illustrations for them to understand, like the gospel blocks from Superstart. These blocks are easy for them to grasp the concept and makes it even easier for them to turn around and present the message to a friend. If you have questions about what you heard from Zach or would like to get in touch with him you can email him at zach.matchett@northviewchurch.us or click here.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Mar 11, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about taking joy in our work.

Philippians 4:4 says “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again rejoice.” This sounds like a command from God, that we find joy in our work. Jesus even found joy as he was headed to the cross. Finding joy in our work is God’s will for us. Sean encourages you, that even if there are difficult things happening in life or at work, that you are able to find joy in everything. Sean suggests taking a moment to write down 10 things that you can rejoice about right now.  Take joy in the ministry that God has gifted you with.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Mar 10, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks about the strategy of talking about what is whispered.

Picture a Peanuts cartoon, the characters are talking during class, but in the background you hear the teacher talking and being ignored. We don’t want God’s word to ever be ignored. We are not wanting the whispers becoming the main focus for our preteens. Taking what they are talking about and incorporating it into the lesson can help to make sense of the whispers and bring the focus back to God. God’s word has something to say about what our preteens are whispering about. Sean suggests helping them to tie their whispers to the knowledge found in God’s word. 

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Feb 14, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Zach Matchett about preteens and application of your message.

Zach discusses the ways he has helped preteens make application of a message they hear, helping them to figure out how that message will affect them going forward. By setting aside time for preteens to talk back to a leader about what they heard, allows them time to process the information. This allows them the ability to apply it and put it into practice during the week.

If preteens don’t realize that their faith needs to move beyond the four walls of the ministry space, that following Jesus is an everyday decision, they aren’t going to grow. They will move through life and they will not be able to do this as an adult.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Feb 14, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Ryan Frank regarding MegaCon and the Preteen HQ.

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Ryan, the leader of KidMin, speaks about his heart behind the Preteen HQ that was added to MegaCon at the 2019 conference. Have you ever wondered what conference to attend as a preteen ministry leader? Children’s conferences just don’t seem to have the necessary resources you are looking for. Maybe think about attending next year’s MegaCon 2020 which will occur October 6-8. This is a conference you don’t want to miss.

Last year, KidMin introduced the Preteen HQ which focused on preteen ministries. With the help of FourFiveSix they put together a preteen focused conference inside of the children’s conference. The resources offered in this area are geared toward your preteen ministry.

If you are interested in the Onference click here. If you want more information regarding MegaCon 2020 and the Preteen HQ click here.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Feb 13, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean continues his talk with Paula Mazza about what to do about mental health in our preteen ministries.

Paula discusses some things that can be done now if you suspect some mental health issues in your preteen ministry. One of the easiest things we can do is to talk about it. Helping preteens to know ways to express how they are feeling can help them to get their feelings out. We are great at making kids feel physically safe in our ministries but often times we don’t think about making them feel emotionally, spiritually and socially safe.

There are so many simple things that will emotionally make a preteen feel more comfortable in your ministry. Here are just a few ways Paula suggests.

  • Making sure that they know that they are seen.
  • Connecting with them so that they don’t slip through is also a great way.
  • Normalizing emotions is so helpful to make preteens feel comfortable with the feelings they are having.
  • One of the biggest things you can do in your ministry is working with you church and community to put together a referral plan. Navigating mental health can be overwhelming for families and anything that we can do to help them will allow the church to be a light in our communities.
  • Familiarize yourself with the difference between clinical mental health and just mental health in general by knowing some of the warning signs.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Feb 12, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean talks to Paula Mazza about mental health in your preteen ministry.

1 in 6 people in our world are between the ages of 10-19. When it comes to mental health half of all mental illness will start showing symptoms before the age of 15. The average delay in diagnosis is 10 years, which in terms of preteens is the formidable years of their lives. Beginning in 2007 and reporting through 2017, according to the CDC’s report in October 2019, suicide rates in adolescents has tripled. 

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Jan 17, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Michayla White, Executive Director of INCM, about eliminating unnecessary expectations.

There are expectations that we put on ourselves that God does not put on us. The expectations that we put on ourselves will never be as nice or merciful as those that come from the Father. Take a time and step back and seek what the Lord expects of you. Spend some time in Matthew 11 and spend time with God in his presence and allow him to speak to you.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Jan 16, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean shares an excerpt of the recent Peer Group meeting about challenging the preteens in your ministry.

If we challenge the preteens in our ministry and allow them to do more they will shock us with what they are able to do. Giving preteens the opportunity to be leaders in your ministry can allow them to rise above what expectations we might have for preteens. Don’t limit your preteens because they have more to give than you might realize.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Jan 15, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Zach Matchett about first impressions and last impressions and where to put your focus.

A person will determine their impression of a place in the first 6-8 minutes of walking into your space. Making sure that you have great guest services when they first walk in can have a big factor of whether or not that visit might return.

Zach’s team really focused on making sure they were meeting the needs of the visitors during that first impression but thought about what they were missing out as the preteen was leaving. They began brainstorming about ways that they can make that last impression a positive one. The first plan that they are trying is by having their guest services team remain through the service. On the check in form there is one question that asks a preteen their favorite drink or candy. The team will then get that item for the preteen and give it to the small group leader to give to the student on their way out. Providing intentional individualized care to the preteens is their ultimate focus to make sure that not only coming but also leaving the preteen feels welcome and encouraged to return to the group. Listen to the podcast as Zach shares a second idea his team will be putting into play for 2020.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Jan 15, 2020

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Pastor Chris and Jaime Santos about giving preteens a chance to choose elements that occur in our preteen ministry.

The idea of This or That came about during one of Elevate’s weekly leadership meetings. They were looking for a way to get the preteens more engaged in announcements. Allowing preteens more involvement in the announcements to ensure they are retaining the information given to them.

This or That gives the preteens a choice about something brought up during the announcements. For example, the Christmas party included hot chocolate and the preteens were given the choice between candy canes or marshmallows in their hot chocolate. By giving the preteens a chance to be involved in the planning of one of the elements brought up during announcements will make them more engaged in the element itself.  

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 29, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Heather Soukup about the Family Photo Christmas Card Prayer Wall.

Heather discusses the bulletin board she has above her desk in her office. It is a 4’x6’ board and on it she has saved and trimmed down the family photo Christmas cards, leaving the picture and the names. The pictures are either families in the ministry or volunteers in the ministry. Having the pictures is a remembrance of who they are serving and helps to focus on why you are doing the ministry you are doing. It is a great way of having a visual to look at that you can be reminded to pray for that family and their students.

If you would like more information from Heather here is her contact information. She can be reached through Facebook by clicking here or via her email: hsoukup@efccl.org.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 28, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about being thankful.

As Christians we are thankful every day for what God has given us even though we are not deserving. There is a call for us in ministry to be thankful for our volunteers, our Senior Pastors, even the kids and parents in our ministry. Today as you sit down with family and enjoy Thanksgiving remember that we should be thankful every day because of our Heavenly Father. Happy Thanksgiving!

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”  Colossians 2:6-7

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 27, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about the idea of not doing anything on Sunday.

What! Not do anything on Sunday. It means that you have everything prepared before Sunday comes and you don’t have anything that is vital to the service that needs to be handled that morning. Sean explains how over the last few weeks he and his team have made a change to have everything that can be done finished before Sunday morning. This isn’t always easy and there are times when you are not motivated to get it done because you are not under the gun to get it done. The stress that is removed from Sunday’s has made it all worth forcing yourself to get it finished.

Try it out if you aren’t already doing it and see how it affects your Sunday mornings.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 27, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Dayna about the use of snacks during preservice.

In Elevate, during the preservice time the kids are offered a snack as they enter after checking in. In Elevate one of the positives of having the café set up is that it offers a social area for the preteens to hang out. In the Elevate café area there are little tables and stools to sit at where they can eat their snack or drink their beverage. Another benefit of the café is for those preteens that may not have had breakfast offers them a chance to eat something.

If you feel like economically it would be tough to offer a snack, Dayna has some great ideas of inexpensive ways of getting snacks to feed your preteens. Look for on sale deals and get donations when you can.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 15, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about a concept while working with preteens of knowing what you expect versus what you hope for.

When you are talking about things in ministry like inviting friends, baptism or worship. Your tone when asking things of the preteens can really determine if you are demanding something of them or inviting them to join you in doing it. When it comes to behavior it is ok to be demanding in your tone. When you think about that concept, how are you approaching baptism, communion and even salvation response. If in our tone we are demanding these things there is no real meaning or purpose to the preteens because they are doing as ordered.

If preteens are just being compliant then there is no value in worship, baptism, communion or a salvation response. A preteen who is just being compliant is not taking ownership of their faith.  

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 14, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Heather Soukup about a Disciple Making Map for birth to 18 years.

When Heather’s group was first putting this together they met to identify spiritual moments that they want their families to pay attention to as the students grow up. Using a map like this can help a ministry to organize how they will minister to their different age groups. After putting together various pieces of information from various locations they were able to put together discipling through the stages classes.

This information would be able to help a leader put together strategies to answer some of the basic questions that specific age ranges would be asking and how to bring God into that conversation. These were set up in milestones. Heather explains some of the milestones on their list, child dedication, gospel conversations, baptism and communion, bible skills and purity and identity. This helped to set up parent classes and design what curriculum works best based on the various milestones.

If you would like more information from Heather her is her contact information. She can be reached through Facebook by clicking here or via her email: hsoukup@efccl.org.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 13, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Chip Henderson on the best way of ministering to preteens is by stepping into their world.

To really connect with preteens you need to be culturally relevant to them. When you use things that they are aware of in their world, like current video games, in your message or when you are speaking to them they can relate to it better. Knowing what is popular for them and adding it in as an object lesson will help them to be more engaged in what you are telling them.

This is something that can also be helpful in small group questions as well. Chip explains the Cup O Noodle reference and how effective for his preteens using that idea in the question made it that much more relevant. Making current video games they are playing live action games can turn an activity into something they will enjoy more than playing the go to of dodgeball or shuffle your buns.

 

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 13, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about bringing in preteens to sing or play music on occasion for worship.

In the past, Elevate would work with a group of preteens who wanted to be involved in the band. We would spend a few months working with them and they would be able to play one or two songs at the end of it. This was a very ineffective way to get the preteens involved in music and worship. Lately, we have tried something different. We invite guest preteens to join the worship team on a weekly basis. We will invite one preteen who is learning to play an instrument come join the regular worship team during one song.

The preteens are given that one song on Wednesday to practice the chords and be ready to play on Sunday. This has given the kids a chance to play more often. When you only have one preteen at a time they are able to follow the more skilled musicians on your worship team. Recently though, we decided to have all of them play together on one song this past Sunday. If you don’t currently have a worship team, check with the preteens in your ministry, some of them might currently play an instrument and you can create a team using just the preteens.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Nov 1, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Jaime Santos about the use of a volunteer interview card.

If you have a big volunteer team, sometimes you won’t even know the strengths of those volunteers. Additionally, they may have a spot in the ministry where they are feeling called too and we don’t even know. By really getting to know the strengths of the volunteers you are able to utilize them more and they buy in more to the ministry.

The survey can be very simple with just a couple questions. Asking their strengths, if they play an instrument, along with their love language you will help you to better place the volunteer in your ministry. It is a tool for us to get to know our volunteers better so we know how to minister to them. Here is a link to the form we made Elevate Kingdom Rep Questionnaire.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Oct 31, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about the use of electives in between services.

In Elevate we have two services, and we have about 20-30 kids that will stay for both services. This gives us about 45 minutes in between the services where chaos can occur unless we are specific about our planning. What we decided to do was to have electives that are run by our 9 am leaders. 3-4 leaders each week will stay and have a different activity. The kids will decide what activity they want to participate in and they stay with that leader in that activity for the next 20 minutes. This allows the 11 am leaders to arrive and get set for pre-service time.

Another key take away from this is the by in from the leaders running the activities. They are owning their ministry every week. Additionally, it solves the chaos issue that was occurring by keeping the preteens occupied during that in between time.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Oct 30, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Christine Bailey about peacock feathers and rubies.

Through the use of peacock feathers Christine was able to visually explain to the preteens in her ministry that each person is unique and different. In addition, she showed the preteens her ring which had a ruby in the center. She tells the story of how she took it to two different jewelers, one that said it was fake and another that polished it up and told her that it was real. Through both these visual items she was able to explain to the preteens that their flaws and imperfections are what make them unique and special. Those flaws and imperfections is what God uses in your life to do amazing things for him.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Oct 30, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Patrick Snow about using games to supplement your teaching.

Preteens can be tough to teach too because their attention can only last so long. By bringing in something they can have in their hands, allowing them to connect to that truth can extend that time frame. Games are perfect for that. Superstart has centered a lot of their teaching this year around a card and dice game.

Preteens lives are filled with so many pressures that they can get stressed out really quickly. When you can hold on to the promises that God has for your life then you can be changed by them. The game allows preteens to see those promises and learn that that they give you hope. It is great when a game can supplement the lesson and actually become the small group time.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Oct 5, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about a leader meeting that is focused on expectations.

Last year Elevate implemented a meeting schedule with their volunteers once a month. This meeting takes place on a Sunday after church and involves lunch brought by different leaders each time. The first meeting of this year involved taking the leaders step by step through a service explaining their roles. Sean explains that these our guidelines of what we would like our leaders to do but would hope that they go beyond what we ask of them. Sean feels that leaders sometimes feel that they need permission to do things and therefore wont step out and do something and instead will just stand there. These meetings can be something as simple as giving the leaders basic information about their roles to something more in depth like mandatory reporting guidelines.

Have a question about preteen ministry or a unique preteen ministry idea that we can feature on our podcast?  Send it to podcast@fourfivesix.org. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

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