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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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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 14, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Makenna about the idea of offering preteens a place where they can make an impact in the ministry.

Preteens are at the age where they can begin to make the decision about how they want to give back to the church. They are at the age where they can make the choice to serve or just continue to be an audience like in children’s ministry. By giving the preteens and opportunity to take ownership of the ministry it is allowing them to feel like they are contributing to it.

Makenna explains how in the Deeply Rooted Curriculum there is an emphasis on knowing who you are in God and that you are created with a purpose. That purposes causes us to do certain things to show God to the world, be it through worship, evangelism or serving. In Elevate this year we have given the preteens lots of opportunities to serve in our ministry. Not just for the leadership students but for everyone. For example, with the Surprise Party it has given every preteen a chance to get involved in putting the party together. Our goals should be to activate their faith and the need in them to give back to the ministry.

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/.

Dec 13, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Jaime about the idea of alternating big events with ones less taxing.

Jaime’s favorite thing from 2018 was the Friendship, which required the putting up and tearing down of a giant spaceship every week in Elevate. Although this was a lot of work it was fun for her because it brought joy to the preteens to walk into a giant ship for service. The problem is when you do big events like this it brings about stress which is good, but when you continue week after week having these stressful events is creates distress which is actually unhealthy.

The preteens remember these big events but you have to be intentional about when you are doing them to not distress those responsible for putting it together. Big events are not always about doing a lot of stuff. You can go to a concert with your kids or a conference that doesn’t require you doing all the work. Alternating between things that require investment, energy & stress and those that don’t require anything is the big ide for 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. Looking for a great community of preteen leaders that you can plug into? Join us at http://fourfivesix.org/.

Dec 13, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Pastor Chris about the 6th grade leadership program in Elevate.

Having Pastor Chris join the Elevate team as the 6th grade pastor has allowed us the opportunity to expand our current leadership program. Chris has found that these oldest preteens are able to take on more responsibility and are ready to expand their service to the church.

The 6th grade champions program allows them a chance to see what best suits them and their personalities and strengths. It gives them an opportunity to get plugged in and engaged in a ministry in the church where they feel God is calling them. It is a graduation of sorts from the 5th grade helpers program. It offers them various areas throughout the church to serve: younger kids (preschool and elementary), greeting with the adults, leading worship in the younger kids, helping with a performing arts aspect of the 6th grade class, as well as running the tech booth in Elevate. The preteens move from a generalized program with the 5th grade helpers to a more individualized program in the 6th grade champions. Additionally, on Sundays before they head to where they are serving they meet with Pastor Chris and his wife Jaime to pray and talk about how they are doing.

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/.

Dec 12, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Zach Matchett about the idea of changing up your normal.

The idea of changing your normal ministry routine can bring about so many positive results. For Zach it is his different special events like the “Pre-winter Party” or “Breksgiving” which are done during their normal service time. These are themed events that allow the preteens to invite friends to a light-hearted fun event.

These events are a great opportunity for your ministry to build community by simply changing up the routine a little. What's amazing is the amount of participation that you'll get with these types of events. The preteens really enjoy having a chance to do something different every once in a while.

So how could you change up your routine slightly and add in a themed event to allow your preteens a chance to invite friends?

Nov 15, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Dan Istvanik at Victory Church in Lancaster, PA about learning from Fortnite.

Dan recently wrote an article about Fortnite. It wasn’t the standard discussion about whether you should be using Fortnite in your ministry. Instead Dan asked the question of why is Fortnite so popular. Like anything that is popular in the preteen population it is a great idea to ask the question of why it is so popular. That question can help us to meet the needs of our preteens better.

Dan writes for ministrytoparents.com. Two things stuck out to Dan during his research for the article.

1.       There is a risk of reward element to the game that taps into a preteens brain. We are all built to feel like we need to be rewarded. Your brain easily becomes addicted to something that you get a sense of reward from. Fortnite offers a risk, a reward, a prize and an emotional high which draws them into it.

2.       Popularity really surged during the summer months. This is when students are looking for community because they are out of school and away from their friends. Fortnite offered them an opportunity to connect with other. It gave them a social network online and offline.

Dan and Sean discuss how thinking about these two things can help us in ministry to create a space that ministers to the felt needs of our 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 14, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean and Makenna talk about video announcements.

When ministries have announcements, there are two basic ways during service to go about this: video announcements or live announcements.

The problem with live announcements is they can quickly use up a ton of time. A plan for 2 minutes of announcements can quickly turns in to a lot more because we want to make sure the information is clear and that the students know everything about everything.

Here are 3 reasons why video announcements are better:

1.       It takes less time,

2.       You can make sure ahead of time that everything you want to say is said, and

3.       it is more engaging and more can be done with video announcements. Announcements can be way more interesting and gather the preteens attention better than live announcements.

Makenna and Sean talk about some different options for doing video announcements, even with limited time and budget.

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, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Scott Santee from Indiana who works with churches and organizations to bring water filters to poverty-stricken places around the world.

Getting preteens involved in raising money for those in poverty around the world can be an abstract concept for them. Having something that makes this idea more concrete allows them to understand it better.

Allowing your preteens to see a water filter in action could fire them up to raise money to fund a water project in another country.

Scott explains how the practicality of the filters allows preteens to see how they can make a difference in other kids lives around the world. By offering something that helps leaders change the lives of preteens while in turn the preteens are saving the lives of these children all over. teams have distributed filters to 9-countries in Central America and Caribbean area, but the filters are being currently used in 62-countries around the world.

If you want more information about the Kids Clean Water Project click here. The project is fully customizable to what you feel would work with your ministry. Scott is also available via email at Scott@filterofhope.org.  Click here to watch a 2-minute demo.

Click here for a 3-minute video you can show your preteens about these water filters.

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, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about having a service focused on cleaning up the church.

To clean up a giant cardboard maze which was spread over 5 different locations with 40+ preteens during a Sunday morning service sounds like an awful idea. It turned out to be an amazing service with every preteen being fully engaged in the activity. The service began with a short message about being “Doers of the Word; not just hearers.” 

Allowing the students to put into action what they heard allowed them to see how the Word comes to life.

Has anyone else done a service Sunday with your preteens? If so please let us know in the comment section what you did, and how it went.

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, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Dan Scott the author of “Caught in Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out” and is on staff with Orange.

Children’s pastors across the country are seeing a decrease in number of students when they reach 4th and 5th grade. Dan discusses the practicalities of adding a preteen ministry into your church even if you don’t have the resources, you can DO SOMETHING! Doing nothing, is helping no one. Doing something can be just an event focused on the preteens or having a small group leader who can facilitate the hard and deep conversations on the preteens level. Everyone can do something to enhance their ministry to preteens. Elevate the kids and make them feel like they are the church of today and that will go really far.

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, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Chris Santos the 6th grade, Pastor in Elevate regarding the production of Dry Bones.

One of the visions of the 6th grade ministry was to get the 6th graders more involved in the process of the ministry. The 6th graders were part of an illustrated message, which was only part of the actual service. This is taking the idea of having students act out a portion of your message when you call them up front, to having the students dance, sing and speak after weeks of practice and rehearsals.

There are so many benefits that can come from doing something like this. There is an impact on the students when they are a part of this small team doing a performance like this. Allowing students to feel like God is using their talents to speak to others can be very beneficial for their growth as well.

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, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Zach Matchett about having a multisite preteen ministry.

Zach runs the preteen ministry for a church that has 11 sites of which 7 have preteen ministries. Through consistency, ability to work for any size environment, and adaptability the same information can be used at all of the preteen ministry at the various sites. By making the information fit for whatever the environment the leader might encounter, be it a portable (shared) facility or a set space, having the resources that they will need to succeed is most important to the success of a multisite preteen ministry.

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, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Eddie Aviles from Washington about persistence in prayer.

Two years ago, Eddie and Sean met at the Northwest Ministry Conference in Washington. At the time Eddie’s church offered no preteen specific ministry but Eddie had a passion for preteens. Coming up on November 29, Eddie’s church is launching their preteen specific ministry.

Eddie began as a volunteer 5-years ago at the church working in the K-5th grade ministry. Eddie could see that there was a difference in the learning and conversations with the 4th and 5th graders. The preteens have always been on his heart and he felt a calling for them. Eddie began planting seeds in church leadership and parents about his vision for a preteen ministry. By asking parents who were enthusiastic about the idea to pray, the vision continued to grow. After 5 years of vision casting about his dream, and many times of wondering if it would ever happen, Eddie persisted in prayer and sharing his vision.

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 18, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Louie from Morningstar Community Church in Oregon about a Q&A Panel he does in his ministry.

Once a quarter Louie brings in pastors and leaders from the church to answer serious and silly questions from the 4th and 5th graders.

This allows leaders in the church to see how deep the 4th and 5th graders are thinking. It also allowed the preteens to see different leaders and levels of pastors and leadership coming in to invest in them.

Louie has done this for the last couple of years once a quarter and the event is always themed. One of the events was pastors, and he brought in pastors like the Senior pastor, youth, worship, college, pastors from all areas of the church. Another event was living out their faith in school and Louie brought in teachers from the church.

Two Sundays before the panel Sunday he will have the preteens write down their questions so that he has them ready for the panel, also allowing him to weed through the questions. Most of the time Louie has just sprung the questions on the panel the day of, but this most recent event he sent the questions to them ahead of time because they were deeper, and he wanted scriptural backing for the answers.

Louie is the moderator of the questions and he also reminds the students that they brought the panel in to answer the question, so the students don’t attempt to answer. Having this type of event allows the pastors and leaders to become more real to the preteens and it opens the eyes of the pastors and leaders to who the preteens actually are.

Here are some of the questions Louie’s preteens asked during the last Panel:

Did Jesus have a choice to love us?

How long did Adam and Eve live?

How do I know other people believe in Jesus?

How does God know us all?

Why is the cross shaped like that?

How do you know if someone is growing in God?

When did you accept Jesus?

Is it possible to come back alive? How did Jesus come back alive?

Will I pick my age in heaven?

What's heaven like? Is it true that heaven has golden streets?

How do we stay connected to Jesus?

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 17, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean and Makenna discuss small group night that took place in Elevate recently with the 4th and 5th graders.

Over a couple weeks leading up to the event the Small Groups discussed ideas of things they would like to do together as a group on this specific night. For example, Makenna’s small group decided to go to John’s Incredible Pizza which is a all you can eat pizza and arcade type place. Other groups did the mall, ice skating, frozen yogurt and arcade/ Each group chose something they all wanted to do together.

Sean’s group wanted to just hang out at one of the boys houses to eat pizza and play video games and after go watch one of the other boys in the group play in his football game.

Everybody enjoyed themselves and it had a different feel that a normal event night because it was just the Small Group. They are able to bring friends as well.

This is the first time Elevate has done this and they learned some things from this time. On the podcast, Makenna and Sean discuss what they learned:

1. It’s good to have another adult present, whether it is another small group leader or even one of the parents.

2. It is important to know what each of the small group leaders is doing for their event so when parents ask what their kid will be doing you are able to respond with the appropriate information.

3. Give the groups some set choices up front, this is to limit the expense of the event.

Small Group Night was a nice time to have little to no agenda but offer a time to build relationship with the students. It offers a great connection time between leaders and students that will allow for better overall discussion in the long run in their small groups.

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 17, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean and Makenna discuss small group night that took place in Elevate recently with the 4th and 5th graders.

Over a couple weeks leading up to the event the Small Groups discussed ideas of things they would like to do together as a group on this specific night. For example, Makenna’s small group decided to go to John’s Incredible Pizza which is a all you can eat pizza and arcade type place. Other groups did the mall, ice skating, frozen yogurt and arcade/ Each group chose something they all wanted to do together.

Sean’s group wanted to just hang out at one of the boys houses to eat pizza and play video games and after go watch one of the other boys in the group play in his football game.

Everybody enjoyed themselves and it had a different feel that a normal event night because it was just the Small Group. They are able to bring friends as well.

This is the first time Elevate has done this and they learned some things from this time. On the podcast, Makenna and Sean discuss what they learned:

1. It’s good to have another adult present, whether it is another small group leader or even one of the parents.

2. It is important to know what each of the small group leaders is doing for their event so when parents ask what their kid will be doing you are able to respond with the appropriate information.

3. Give the groups some set choices up front, this is to limit the expense of the event.

Small Group Night was a nice time to have little to no agenda but offer a time to build relationship with the students. It offers a great connection time between leaders and students that will allow for better overall discussion in the long run in their small groups.

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 16, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean shares about a recent lesson idea he used in Elevate called Sleuth It Up.

As part of an ongoing preteen series called 30 Pictures of Jesus, Sean’s preteen group is taking a look through the book of Luke at various pictures of who Jesus is. Part of this journey was a lesson called Sleuth It Up. The students were invited to come dressed as detectives or spies.

During Preservice time, there was a mystery needing to be unraveled.

After the service started, preteens played a visual mysteries game with two buzzers.

Then the message began with Sean asking the question: what are detectives searching for? (EVIDENCE)

The Small Groups were given gallon size plastic Ziploc bags with an “Evidence” sticker on each bag and given 8 minutes to search for evidence that points to the existence of God and place in the bags.

After the “Evidence” hunt they transitioned into the story of John who was looking for evidence to prove Jesus was who he said he was. John was in jail and couldn’t see what Jesus was doing and was suffering which caused doubt in his mind that Jesus truly was who he said he was. John sends his own “detectives” to ask Jesus, “Are you the one or should we be expecting someone else?” In Luke it states that Jesus performed many miracles and then told the “detectives” to bring the evidence back to John.

The story led to a discussion about faith.

As a visual illustration Sean brought up a student and had him stand on the edge of the stage. He asked the student if he trusted him enough to catch him if he fell backwards off the stage. The student was only a 9 on a scale of 1-10 but he acted as a 10 and fell backwards and Sean caught him. After some more discussion about their faith in God, the groups were allowed to send one person up to share one piece of evidence they had found earlier.

As they left every student received a sandwich size bag with “Evidence” stickers to take home with them and continue their search for evidence that points to the existence of God.

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 15, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Zach Matchett from Indiana, regarding the Small Group Tool Kit that his team has created.

Sean first heard about this tool kit that Zach’s team created during a peer group meeting. Zach held it up and showed it off during the peer group video conference. This is one nice thing regarding peer groups, it allows you to see what others are using and get ideas that can help you in your own ministry. If you want more information about peer groups click here.

The tool kit is a product brought about by the Life Group Pod and Communication Team at Northview Church to help the small group leaders to win. The tool kit is based on the book Lead Small and its five principles:

  • be present,
  • create a safe place,
  • partner with parents,
  • make it personal, and
  • move them out.

The tool kit includes tools for each of these principles. For “be present,” they included birthday cards. For “partner with parents,” It includes a blank business card for leaders to fill out. There’s even event reimbursement for them to attend student events.

If you have questions or would like help creating your own small group tool kit you can contact Zach directly at Zach.matchett@northviewchurch.us.

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 28, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Mark, one of the camp directors for Elevate last summer, about making up your own games.

One of the camps had an element which required preteens to create a game with their groups. They created their game and then everyone participated in the game and voted for which one they liked the best.

Mark created a game called "Gauntlet" that sounds like it would not work but actually had great success with the preteens. Gauntlet is a mix of dodgeball and an elimination game. 

Another game that was created during Elevate’s Makers Camp was a game called “Sports Ball” which actually didn’t even use a ball. It was like ultimate Frisbee but they used a pool noodle.

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 27, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Makenna about dividing and conquering in ministry.

Benefits to splitting the preteens up within a service:

  • Connection and relationship building with the preteens because of the smaller group.
  • Harder for preteens to go under the radar and be missed because there are less to be called on
  • Able to change the delivery of the message based on the preteens that you have present (ie. Immature 4th graders compared to 5th or 6th grade leaders)
  • More leadership opportunities with the need for more teachers
  • Ownership of a ministry for your volunteers makes them more dedicated
  • Offers preteens choices making them more invested in it
Sep 26, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Kaye Allen, regarding the idea of prayer partners between the preteens and the adults of the church.

Once a month the adults active in Kaye and her husband Harley’s class come in and partner up, 1-1 sometime 2-1, with the preteens in Elevate. The students each are given a simple prayer journal with a spot to write a prayer request and a spot for the partner to write a response back to them. The preteens, before the partners come in, write down their prayer request. When the adults come in they partner up with the same preteen each month, pray with them, and then take the preteens prayer journal with them to write back to the preteens. The adults write a response in the journal and give them back to Kaye, who in turn gives them to Sean so that they can be handed back out the next prayer Sunday. The kids are excited about it and look forward to prayer Sunday.

Kaye explains that the idea came about from years of ministry and an email from Sean requesting for prayer for a preteen. When Kaye realized the heaviness that preteens are encountering these days she felt it was necessary for them to receive prayer. She felt that this was a great opportunity for the adult population of the church to come together with the preteens in the church one on one to share prayer requests. Kaye received feedback from one of the prayer Sundays about the experience of one of the adults who came to pray. The gentlemen prayed for the preteen and when they finished the preteen responded with what can I pray for you for. The adult offered up his prayer request and when they met this last month the preteen asked if God answered their prayer. The value was seen in coming together and praying because now the preteen is praying for the adult as well. There is value for the preteen in knowing there is an adult praying for them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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 25, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean discusses the idea of doorframe prayers.

This was an idea thought up by Chris Santos, the 6th grade pastor in Elevate. The doorframe in the 6th grade ministry space is metal, and magnets will stick to it. Chris bought magnets and stuck stickers to them and invited the preteens to put a name on a magnet of a friend from school, the neighborhood, or sports teams that they would like to see walk through the doors of the ministry space. This is a great hook to get the preteens involved in the message of evangelism. Preteens are more engaged to invite people to church when they have a specific person in mind.

If you offer a hook before you give the message the preteens will be more engaged in the message. So, in this case having them think of a friend beforehand makes it easier for them to understand the context of the message. So as Pastor Chris, in this case, was talking about evangelism the preteens are more engaged because they have a person in mind of who they want to evangelize too.

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 14, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about an event Elevate had recently, Water Wars.

This is a great idea that you could use when the weather is warm. Elevate was doing a lesson on Jesus being baptized and started the night off with a great preservice time, “Water Wars”. As the preteens arrived the kids they were put into groups of 12-15-18 and then pulled aside and assigned a team (blue, green or orange). Now that they were in their color teams the teams would travel around together to the different stations and compete against each other to earn points for their respective teams.

Each group would go through an orientation and meet their team captain before moving onto the stations. The stations were the following:

1.       3 matchbox cars and 3 water guns: The teams would shoot their respective cars and try to move them down the strip of cement with only the water gun as its power. Meanwhile the rest of the kids in the group were trying to knock the cars off track using the splash bombs and a bucket of water. If the car got knocked off it had to start all over. The furthest down the track and the end of the time period was the winner and received 3 points, 2nd place 2 points and 3rd place 1 point.

2.       Water Balloon Toss: Preteens were partnered with someone else on their team and it was a competition to see who could have the largest gap between partners when they tossed it and not break the balloon was the winner. Again, the points awarded were 1st -3; 2nd -2; 3rd -1.

3.       3 sponges up: All teams competing at one time the leader would throw the sponge into the air and kids would catch them. Based on their team they would take the sponge and squeeze any remaining water into their respective bucket. At the end of the time whichever group had the most water in their bucket was the winner. Points again awarded were 1st -3; 2nd -2; 3rd -1.

4.       Sponges Bombs: Here the kids got to each create their own sponge bomb using a sponge and some string. If you go on google or pinterest you can look up the directions on how to make these. Whichever team created the most was the winner. Points again awarded were 1st -3; 2nd -2; 3rd -1.

5.       Water relay: Teams would line up with a bucket in front of them. The first person would scoop up water in their cup pour it over their head to the person behind them and try to get it into that person’s cup. This would continue to the end and then pour the remaining water in the bucket. At the end of the time the winner was the team with the most water in their bucket. Points again awarded were 1st -3; 2nd -2; 3rd -1.

After all the rotations the kids took a break together with all the orange, blue and green kids now combining to make big orange, blue and green teams. While the students were taking a break, the field was set up for the actual water war. This was played like capture the flag except that it was “capture the towel” and instead of tagging people you were squirting them or throw water balloons. After adding the points from the stations, the team who had the most points, received the best part of the field along with the most forms of water arsenal. You could only get wet once you crossed into another teams’ zone. If they were able to get you wet, you became frozen for 10 seconds. Additionally, while you are frozen the team can continue to get you soaking wet until the 10 seconds are up at which time they had to return to their zone. After all of this fun everyone came together to hear a message about Jesus being baptized. This was a great set-up to the lesson, that Jesus was human and got wet like us and choosing to get wet he participated. It showed his great leadership that although he didn’t need to be baptized because he never sinned, he got into the water and stepped into the world with us.

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.

Sep 13, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Jacob Horn the children’s pastor from North Madison Christian Church out of Madison, Indiana, regarding the community wide VBS they offered.

Jacob has 10-15 preteens at their church and have come up with a way to host a VBS for their kids without having to send them to another church. This concept of a community wide VBS has a long history in Madison. It started back in the 60’s when two different churches came together to do VBS for the kids. Today, much like then people contribute in many ways to the success of the VBS, meeting monthly to determine where they want to serve. Jacob and his wife Sara direct the elementary age, they create the stage design, take care of the teachers, take care of announcements, and the worship as well.  There is a separate person for the preschool age and an administrative director who contacts the staff and churches. Although there are different denominations represented the focus of the VBS is who Jesus is and the love that he has for them. There are so many benefits to the idea of community VBS, kids seeing other kids from their school that they might not know go to church, or the connections made between leaders and kids throughout the community, has become so impactful for the community. jacobhorn@northmadison.cc or check out the churches website here http://northmadison.cc/.

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 12, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Patrick Snow regarding the successful use of preteen volunteers.

Patrick has successfully chosen preteens for years and brought them up on stage as volunteers while working with Superstart!. The ability to bring a preteen up on stage and interact with the lesson has been a very successful tool. The risk of bringing a preteen on stage to help demonstrate something in the lesson is a risk that has to be taken because it will make the lesson that much more successful.

1.       Be incredibly clear what you are asking a preteen to come and do before even inviting them on stage.

2.       Don’t pick the first hand that comes up. Be choosy in who you pick as a volunteer. By choosing the preteen that will fit what you want to happen on stage will help in the delivery of the message.

3.       Never make the preteen feel like they did something wrong if they come up and don’t do what you needed them to do.  Try to turn whatever they have done into a win. Sometimes you might need to guide them into the answer that you want them to give.

If you want more information about CIY’s Superstart! check out their website https://www.ciy.com/superstart/456

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 11, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Pastor Chris, regarding the importance of framing things.

The idea behind framing is setting up a message or a game so that your explanation allows the audience to know what is going to happen. It is the concept of setting the tone for what you are expecting to happen. This can be helpful for some students because their mindset it is helpful to know ahead of time what the plan is. It also allows preteens to know what they might be volunteering for because in their eagerness to be involved they don’t realize what it might entail. By giving the preteens or anyone else in the ministry your expectation of them it puts them at ease and makes sure they are the right volunteer for what you need. By diving in without setting your expectation you have the potential of having to solve the problem during the middle instead of having it handled ahead of 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/.

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