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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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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/.

Oct 4, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Pastor Chris about the concept of a songwriter knows the song best.

What does that even mean you’re wondering. As a leader you know the plan better than anyone because you were the one that made the plan. The idea that a volunteer is asked to do something and they miss their cue. It can be frustrating to those who are on the mic a lot. Sean and Chris discuss the idea of 3-services: the one we have, the one we plan, and the one we wish we had. Think of yourselves as the songwriter and become improvisers and don’t get hung up on how the volunteers actually do it, be more flexible. Don’t get frustrated because it isn’t going how you envisioned, but realize it is going the way God envisioned it. 

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 3, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Deanna Ickes about the memorization game she created at her church.

After making the change of bringing back the 6th graders to childrens ministry and lowering the Awana program to K-3rd, they needed something for the 4th-6th grade students. Deanna took the concept of the memorization wheel that Sean created and made a Super Mario Memorization game. Deanna’s memorization tool ties a very well known thing like Super Mario and makes the memorization more like a game. She explains the concept and how their game works. If you are interested in the products Deanna used click here for the Mario clings she used and click here for the star pins that she used.

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 2, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean discusses a lesson recently done in Elevate involving pressing the red button.

This lesson was all about letting the preteens take ownership of their faith. It encouraged them to be the ones praying instead of us just teaching them about prayer, or what happens when we pray. Sean gives a detailed overview of the night. The biggest question for the night was what will happen to you, we don’t know. You have to press the red button yourself rather than rely on others to pray and then report to you what happened. It is time to move from hearing and seeing what happens when others do something and step out and do it yourself. It is up to you to live out this Christian life not up to me.

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/.

Sep 21, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about small groups and the idea of waiting until week three to start them.

With the start of a new school year for Elevate it means that we separate the preteens into new small groups. This year, thanks to an idea from Jaime Santos, we decided to hold off in making those small groups until week 3. We sent off the kids those first two weeks in groups based on gender and grade with all the leaders that will be leading that age and gender group. With a smaller group of preteens it might work better for you to send them off just by gender.

 With the first couple of weeks at schools holding Back to School Nights and people just taking time to settle in to returning to a midweek service it allowed everyone time to get settled down before splitting up. Secondly, it gave the leaders a chance to get to know the preteens that would be in their groups. It allowed or us to visually see potential conflicts between kids or groups that might be a distraction if they were together. We also didn’t put the inconsistent kids together so that groups would be more equal consistently. How do you determine your small groups? Let us know.

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/.

Sep 20, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Pastor Chris about a recent lesson about acting on what you believe.

Sean and Chris recently tag team taught in Elevate. The night was all about not just saying what you believe but actually acting on what you believe. They review the night and the different aspects of the service. Some of these pieces of the night might be useful for your ministry. The night was tied into Matthew 26 scripture, about close friends of Jesus, one betrayed him, all abandoned him and one denied him. Additionally, they brought in Matthew 10:32-33 about denying Jesus he will deny you to his father.

Here is the link to the video we used.

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/.

Sep 19, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Mindy Caliguire from Soul Care about taking care of your own souls in the midst of ministry.

Mindy explains this idea of Soul Care. The basic idea of Soul Care is what are you doing to intentionally reconnect moment by moment and day by day with God’s presence in your life. Growing with God is about intimacy and relationship. Key point is if we don’t find a way of life to allow our souls to continually be replenished by God, we will burn out or get annoyed by the vary people we are there to serve. Care for your souls as much as you care for your physical health. If you want more information about Soul Care check out their website 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/.

Sep 18, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks about the idea of giving preteens space to organize their thoughts.

Preteens are a mess some times because of all the changes going on in their minds and bodies. The preteen years are the biggest change in a persons’ life beside the ages of 0-2. Because of these rapidly changing thoughts and feelings, preteens don’t have a way of organizing them, they may not even have words to explain them. If preteens are not given the opportunity to organize their thoughts about God, they may never know what and why to believe something. We are great at giving input to them but we need to give them a chance to reflect otherwise we are just adding to the craziness in their heads.

Where can you offer space in your ministry to allow the preteens to organize their thoughts? Small groups are one place of opportunity, allow them to talk with their peers about their thoughts. A second option is a writing prompt at the end of a lesson, either on a card or a poster response station. By allowing them to publish their thoughts and feelings we are allowing them to organize and own their thoughts and feelings.

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/.

May 11, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about the concept of setting aside a space that is separate from work.

This concept comes from the book Sean is reading with the Peer Group 2 leaders, called The Softer Side of Leadership by Eugene B. Habecker. In the book the author suggests setting aside a space that is set aside, like the Sabbath, that is not for work. He went on to suggest that you are also creating this space for people that follow you. Do you do this with your volunteers or partners, do you send out a text or phone call during a day off? When you are in that space you are able to think deeper. Find some times when you can set aside sacred space for not only yourself but also those around you.

If you would like to be apart of the new peer groups beginning in the fall check out this site.

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/.

May 10, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Chris Santos the 6th grade, Pastor in Elevate regarding the recent Mexico missions trip with the 6th graders.

Chris along with 9 other adults took 9 - 6th graders, a junior high student and a high school student on a 5-day Mexico Mission trip. The team flew from Northern California to San Diego and then rented minivans and drove over the border. They went to work with SOW Ministries (Serving Orphans and Widows) in Mexico. Each day was full of amazing ministry opportunities and outreach. Chris gives detailed information of their day to day schedule.

The great opportunity with SOW is that they will plan everything, all you have to do is get your team there. Partnering with a local organization is the smart way to do a mission trip because they know the area and the needs of the people in that area.

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/.

May 9, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean shares a portion of Karl Bastian’s breakout from the 2019 Preteen Conference.

Karl Bastian is a children’s pastor in Aurora Colorado. His goal is to be relevant with todays kids and he tries to keep up on their current culture. You can learn more about Karl and Kidology by visiting his website. He emphasizes he is not an expert in this field but by the name it suggests he is always learning and staying current on all things kids.

Kidology comes from the concept of having a ministry that is within the culture and world of kids. To be a great kids pastor Karl suggests that you have to stay current with what is popular in their culture. He suggests never losing that passion because it is such a powerful tool for ministry. Karl suggests questioning ever your newcomers interests and references a form which you can find here. We need to be knowledgeable about the culture, so that in the case of biblical issues we are able to correct them.

If you like what you heard today and want to hear the rest of Karl’s breakout session along with 28 others you can purchase the set of recordings 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/.

May 8, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks about a speaker Daniel Im who has a different take on the 70-20-10 principle.

In adult education theory and leadership practice that learning comes about in this breakdown, 70% by doing, 20% by interacting, and 10% by listening. But Daniel points out that in church we flip that around and have 70% of teaching, 20% of talking about it and only 10% of doing it. Daniel wonders what might occur if we take this idea and flip it around in the churches. We know that preteens learn better when they are able to “do” what you are teaching.

The Deeply Rooted Curriculum does just that it has the preteens not just listening but doing the things they are learning. Once a quarter there is an entire month that includes workshops as part of the lesson. Giving the preteens a chance to do what they are learning.

If you want to check out more from Daniel Im check out this site.

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/.

Apr 11, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Chris Santos about coteaching during services.

Sean and Chris have been coteaching in Elevate and they have 3 ways they have been toying with when it comes to coteaching. The pros of coteaching that they have seen are the idea of seeing the two pastors work together as well as certain preteens resonating more with one pastor over another, adding strength to the ministry. Some of the drawbacks is that one speaker needs to stay on script to stay on schedule, the energy can compete with a difference in energy levels between the two speakers.

The three methods that have worked for Elevate are:

Line by Line: Write a message and determine who will speak which parts.

Section by Section: One speaker does the first piece, which in Elevate is the “Lesson Set-up” while the other speaker does the main message.

Week by Week: In this style each week is a different speaker. This goes back to the pro thought that some kids resonate better with certain speakers.

Share the teaching. If you are by yourself there might be a small group leader that is willing to step up and teach. Don’t be worried that they won’t be able to do it as well as 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/.

Apr 10, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean shares some of Chip Henderson’s breakout session from the 2019 Online Conference.

Chip spoke at the 2019 Preteen Leaders’ Online Conference regarding principles of small groups. Chip offers 8 principles that he has used with his small group leaders.

  1. Always ask open ended questions – this will allow preteens to learn for themselves
  2. Always draw them back to practical actions – make the preteens think what they will do with this new information.
  3. The Bible is the authority not you.
  4. Don’t let one student dominate.
  5. Call on students specifically.
  6. Be ok with silence – don’t worry if you don’t get an answer right away let them ponder a bit.
  7. Be ok with asking questions again in a different way.
  8. Don’t be tied to the questions.

Chip explains it the best when he states that our jobs as leaser is not to give the preteens the water but to lead them to the water. If you liked this podcast and would like to hear more from the 2019 Preteen Leaders’ Online Conference 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/.

Apr 9, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about the problems he is seeing with ministries starting a preteen ministry.

As Sean has been speaking at various conferences, he is coming against some challenges with ministries willing to start a preteen ministry. People are seeing the need for a preteen specific ministry but are not willing to pull the trigger to start one. So many times, the ministries feel like it is a gigantic boulder, too large to make it past. And in some cases, there is one leader that will see the vision and then see the boulder ahead of them and wonder if they will be able to accomplish it by themselves.

Sean goes on to share two impactful times he had when he first started the preteen ministry and the mighty boulders he will never forget. The lack of volunteers to help prepare for services and the addition of multiple VBS camps during the summer. He had low points while starting the ministry but just remember that getting the boulder going is tough but the bigger the boulder the more momentum it will build and the bigger the impact it will make.

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 23, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean shares an excerpt of Marie Kuck‘s session at the Preteen Leaders Conference.

Marie discusses how the churches should be opening to families that have preteens with special needs. Parents are struggling to keep their families together, marriages together during this journey with a special need preteen or child. When the church is not prepared to except a special need child, they are making that family question who will except their son or daughter. If the church isn’t even willing, then who will except my child.

When kids with special needs start getting into those preteen years the differences between them and the other preteens become more apparent. You may not have the training but if you have a willing heart and are open to allow God to use you, you will be able to make a big difference in a family’s life.

Your first decision will be to determine if you are going to be tolerant or intentional when dealing with preteens with special needs. Be intentional in your ministry and cast out your nets to those that are in need. Make your ministry an inviting are for a preteen with special needs and their family.

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 22, 2019

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with James Powell about changing the day you meet.

James runs the preteen ministry at the Brooklyn Tabernacle church in New York. Due to a Tuesday night prayer night for the church the preteens met the same night. The problem was that the numbers began to dwindle and most recently were down to about 10-12 preteens on Tuesdays. Because of this James began to question why the lack of preteens and what could he do to raise those numbers. Recently, after talking to parents and getting their feedback it was decided to switch the night the preteens meet to Friday. Last month they met, and they had 60 preteens.

By taking a step back and really analyzing the situation James was able to make a positive change in his ministry. Although the rest of the church met on Tuesdays that was not working for his ministry and he made a change. James suggests to pray and really examine your ministry, more specifically don’t listen to the lie Satan will tell you that it is just the ministry because preteens don’t come.

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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