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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
Aug 31, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Makenna about the use of virtual lost and found to let parents know what stuff was left behind from camp.

After the very first summer camp this past summer Elevate had so much left behind items from campers. This could have either cost a headache for the whole summer or bring about a fix, because lost items and preteens just goes together. Makenna wanted to come up with an idea of how she could let parents know how much the kids were actually leaving behind. Unfortunately, she didn’t think that a long email would even be read by the parents, so she had to come up with a plan to make them aware.

This brought about the idea of taking pictures of the items in categories and attached those to one short email at the end of camp. This allowed the parents to do a virtual lost and found tour of what was left behind. The email gave instructions for parents of how to claim the items as well. What was nice was that the items were categorized (water bottles, towels, tshirts…) which allowed parents to focus in on specifically what their preteen might have left.

When it came to the retrieval of the lost items, the clearer directions that you can give to the parents the better. IF you won’t be in the office on a specific day make sure you note that, so parents are not showing up and no one is there to help them. Parents are appreciative of the ease that a virtual lost and found offers but it can be a time-consuming process. This also allows for you to put a time frame on when these items need to be picked up by before you will be donating 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/.

Aug 30, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks about the idea of scraping small groups (kind of) from your service.

Sunday mornings used to be all about the small groups for Elevate. Recently there was a change to that. Elevate still uses small groups on Wednesday night but Sunday’s there has been a shift away from that. Sunday mornings had a weird thing that continued to happen, a group would have 6 or 7 preteens one week and the next week would have 1 or none and there was no consistency to the numbers that would attend from the roster. The inconsistency with the preteens and on the flip side the inconsistency of the leaders that who were committed but would have something come up. For this reason, Elevate decided to scrap small groups on Sunday mornings. This does not mean that the preteens don’t meet and have a discussion time in small groups of people. It just means that consistent, scheduled small groups are no longer an element in those services. That relationship development that would occur in a long-term group dynamic does not occur during the Sunday mornings but does occur on Wednesday nights.

The new look on Sunday includes tables with a leader at each table. By using two different color chairs they are able to distinguish the specific seat the leader will sit in compared to the rest of the chairs the preteens sit in. The preteens then have the opportunity to sit at whatever table they want to sit at. They can sit with a specific leader or a group of friends, but they cannot add or remove chairs from a table. This allows for Elevate to end up with good size groups every week. This also allows them to not be concerned with the consistency in the groups while still allowing for the small group discussion dynamic to occur. This idea is working well because it still limits the amount of preteens in a group while making sure there is not just one student you are trying to have a discussion 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/.

Aug 29, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Patrick Snow about the use of “Salvation Building Blocks” to teach the salvation message.

Patrick discusses how Superstart, this last season, began using three building blocks (blue, red and yellow) or as they call them “Building Blocks”. These three building blocks have different words written on them, Blue = God, Red = Jesus & Yellow = Us. He explains how using the blocks they were able to show 1000’s of preteens the salvation message with some they could physically hold in their hands. By explaining that we were meant to be connected to God and having the preteens connect the two blocks together they get the visual representation of our relationship with God. They show our separation from God because of sin by having the preteens separate the blocks. They then discuss Jesus and how his death on the cross and allows us to be connected back to God. They would end the message by having the preteens connect the red block under the blue block and finally connect the yellow block to the red block thus giving them the perfect picture of what Jesus does for us.

Elevate used them this summer for a day camp and Sean followed the step by step video offered by Superstart. The popularity of these blocks has been more than Superstart ever expected. Patrick explains that he believes they are so popular because of the hands-on aspect of them. Preteens learn so much better when they have the interaction component. They are also helpful because preteens already know what a building block is. It isn’t something that you have to explain to them because they already have that internal connection as to how the blocks connect. Finally, they are popular because it gives the preteens an easy way to go out and share the gospel message with their friends using the blocks. It makes the gospel accessible to the preteens.

If you would like to use these “Building Blocks” for your ministry go to the following website and order some blocks for free. 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/.

Aug 28, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean discusses the idea that we all have limits and those limits are necessary and OK.

You have big dreams of what your ministry can be and how God can work through you. Unfortunately, God did not give us no limits in our lives. This might seem contrary to what scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) When you look at these scriptures you don’t see it suggesting that God is writing us a blank check saying you have no limits. There are limits in the number of hours in a day. Putting Philippians 4:13 into context we see that Paul talks about being hungry, being well fed, he learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. He didn’t say that he can do miraculous things, like feeding 10,000 people before noon. We are not all called to the same things. We have limits of what we are capable of doing and that is ok.

This summer the leadership team in Elevate bumped up against some of their limits. Knowing that we have these limits where should we live, should we live right on the edge of our limits and pushing up against at all times or should we have a buffer. Living at your boundary doesn’t allow for room when unexpected events happen.  We don’t operate at those limits, but we leave some margin between what we can accomplish and what God can accomplish through us and leave some room with where we operate all the time. But there is the extreme that if you pull so far away from the boundary that you aren’t doing anything at all. Figure out what that comfortable margin is where you can work and time to time things might push us out to our limits, but we don’t plan to operate there. Limits are good because it gives us a chance to show God we trust him. It gives us a chance to say I am not God, who is limitless, I can only do so much.

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/.

Aug 24, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks with Jaime Santos a psychologist, who alongside of her husband Pastor Chris run the 6th grade ministry in Elevate. She was on today to discuss the concept of enforceable statements.

Enforceable statements are a great disciplinary technique that will help ministries. This is a concept that comes from Love and Logic, and it has been successfully used by many parents. Basically, an enforceable statement is something that you as the leader says that you will allow a student to do. For example, a simple statement like “the car leaves at 8” just means that the car will leave at 8 this is what is happening. The concept involves stating what you as the leader will be doing instead of trying to control the behaviors individually. Easy way to remember enforceable statements is how they start, “I will”, “I allow”, “I give.”

When thinking about the small group times and getting individuals to stop bad behavior could use a statement like “students who chose to not listen will need to talk to me afterwards.” These types of statements are generalized for the whole group instead of individualized because this is a rule we have set in place for every student. Students tend to feel like they are being called out when they are acting up but by generalizing the statement you are setting a value to what you expect from 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/.

Aug 23, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Hannah Bush, a pastor at a church in Texas and a writer for Deeply Rooted Curriculum, regarding the idea of renewing your passion for preteen ministry.

By stepping out of the leadership role and stepping down into the trenches and being on the level with the students. For Sean that meant giving up all his leadership roles at camp this summer and passing those off to other leadership and becoming a cabin leader. It was an amazing week of ministry, allowing him to walk away with a renewed mindset of why he is doing what he is doing in ministry.

Hannah had a similar renewing experience this summer. Hannah also runs the 1st -3rd grade at the church and this pulls her away from the preteens. This summer she decided she wanted to step back into the preteen side of the ministry. She normally delegates out the one on one time and teaching roles to others because it works. She decided she wanted to “dig back down to roots” of preteen ministry and take 3-weeks and teach both services this summer. It had its challenges on the logistics side, but it has been a refreshing start going into the fall. It rejuvenates your passion for why you do what you do.

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/.

Aug 22, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Zach Matchett, 5th/6th grade pastor, from a church in Central Indiana, called Northview Church a multi-site church.

Zach discusses this concept known as T.H.P., short for Take Home Point. This is one statement, one question, or one commandment that the students will take away from the message and be a springboard for a discussion as a family.

During their message using part of the teaching time to get some interaction from the students helps them to be engaged in the lesson. Northview uses a table group/small group model for their Sunday morning setup. When closing the service out in their small groups the final question always is, what was the THP and why was it important? By taking the memorization concept one step further in a message and asking why something was important to what they learned helps the message to be more impactful. Additionally, Zach has recently added in the question, how does this challenge me to live differently, to the students during small group time.

By focusing on one point there is a greater chance of successfully getting the students to take home what they learned. They are able to focus in on one idea instead of 2 or 3.

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/.

Aug 21, 2018

Today on the podcast, Makenna discusses four lessons she learned as Camp Director for Elevates day camps this summer.

Lesson #1: People Over Program. When camp is really about the campers you will do just about anything to serve the campers. Maybe that is rescheduling the day because it is too hot out or offering a camper an extra snack because they are so hungry. Remembering that program and schedule is great, but the most important element of camp is the campers.

Lesson #2: Swimming vs. Lifeguarding. Being “in the water” with the campers is a great way to build relationships but being at that level all the time causes you to miss issues that are out of sight. Although “sitting on the lifeguard tower” may feel like you are distancing yourself from them in reality it is putting you in a better position to see what is going on. It gives you a different perspective of the situation.

Lesson #3: Power of Debrief: Sitting down after camp and debriefing with your team is great to learn new ideas for things the following year. It has a tendency to help promote a smoother program for future events. Although some things that might come up might be hard to discuss, in the long run your system will be impacted positively because of it.

Lesson #4: You Need Boundaries: Flexibility is great, and you might be prone to push yourself to be everywhere at once. But then you find out in reality that is absolutely impossible. Setting boundaries and relying on your team will help you to not burn yourself out half way through camp. Build a team, use them and allow yourself some time set aside to relax.

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/.

Jun 8, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about a way to connect to preteens who are sporty or athletic.

By being relevant about what the preteens life is all about and helping them make a connection between what their lives are about and God who created all of life. There are preteens in our ministry that come and we aske them to do crafts and sit or walk around the room and have discussions but are athletically minded kids. So, the question then becomes how you help them know that church is a place for them.

Sean gives some ideas to help you reach these preteens.

  1. Allow preteens to play an active sport, basketball in a gym or soccer on the grass outside before service. Limited space? Try gaga ball or 9-square.
  2. Have a boys’ night that was about games and they played sports.
  3. This ideas from Tom: a parent night that is a competition between preteens and parents. This was an event that he held for the preteens in his ministry. The sport does not matter just use one the preteens are into.
  4. VBS style Monday through Friday day camp that focused on sports. By finding people in your church who may play different sports that are willing to come direct them in the sports.
  5. Incorporate sports into your lesson is another great idea. Whenever giving an example you can use sports to make it more relevant to them.
  6. Offer a themed lesson that uses a sports emphasis.

So how do you reach the sporty/athletic kids in your ministry. We would love for you to share some of your ides.

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/.

Jun 7, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Robert Quinn who is involved in the FourFiveSix Level 3 Peer Group.

Robert just started a week ago, a Facebook community page for FourFiveSix. This came out of the thought that community and communication among ministries was a necessary aspect that the peer group felt was needed in preteen ministry. After just one-week people have already started sharing curriculum ideas and sharing summer VBS ideas. It offers a place to share pictures of things that are happening in your ministry. It is all about community.

The vision behind it was a place for preteen leaders and pastors could come together and share ideas, thoughts, prayers for each other, and connect with each other. One thing that Robert has learned while ministering with his wife is networking and community is the best way to grow. By reaching out to others and sharing with one and another you can grown your ministry. People are the best resources when it comes to preteen ministry.

If you are interested in joining the Facebook community 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/.

Jun 6, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean shares a lesson idea that was used in Elevate this last Sunday.

This was a lesson that Sean used as the new 4th graders started this last Sunday. The ministry is called Elevate which is for 4th, 5th & now 6th graders. Sean wanted to share this lesson because there might be some ideas that you could use in your own ministry.

The lesson was all about how we are all elevaters. In fact, everyone elevates something. As part of the lesson Sean showed pictures and videos of people elevating something. One of the pictures was people standing holding signs before a Justin Bieber concert and they were obviously elevating Justin Bieber. He also showed a bedroom decorated in all San Francisco Giants décor, and it was obvious to the preteens this person was elevating the Giants. Additionally, they showed a video of kids doing some dances from Fort Nite and it was also obvious to the preteens what they were elevating. It allowed a discussing about what it means to elevate things, to extol them or raise them up. They looked at Psalm 145, at the beginning it talks about extoling God and at the end it also says that he is extoling God.

By looking at Psalm 145, the preteens were able to underline all the words that state why we should elevate God. There is a ton of them in Psalm 145! The preteens were given note cards. They wrote “God” at the top of and then wrote why they would want to elevate God. Sean then offered them straws which signified ways they could elevate God. Using the card, straws and tape they were tasked with trying to get the index card with God written on it high in the air. The challenge was to see which group would be the first to create an elevator that would raise God up to the roof.

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/.

Jun 5, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Clint May out of Benbrook, Texas about the L.I.T. program that he created.

Clint describes the history of what brought him to start the L.I.T. program. Through his years in ministry, he has seen such a change in the preteens and their families and as a result of giving them opportunities to lead in ministry. The LIT program now takes multiple churches on missions trips each year and has resources for 1st-6th grade. Clint is most proud of the preteen devotionals and how well they work.

All this information can be found by going to www.leadersintraining.com. There is free information including a spiritual gifts test for preteens. And they are currently setting up online training that will be free. By equipping preteens to serve Christ they are able to make a difference in others.

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 19, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean shares an excerpt from Karl Bastian’s session at the 2018 Preteen Leaders’ Online Conference.

Karl explains how adults in churches are reluctant to serve, only about 20%. On the other hand, if you ask the preteens in your ministry to help, the numbers are much higher; Karl has even seen 100%.

Preteens want to help.

If we don’t train up kids and teens to serve, then why would we expect them to serve as adults. We train them to come to church and sit and watch versus training them know to serve, get it in their DNA when they are young, and we won’t be hunting down volunteers to help out.

Karl recalls a mentor who challenged him whether he was a performer or a trainer. The goal is that we get the willingness to serve in their DNA because many will go into ministry when they get older because they got a taste when they were younger and enjoyed it. Church becomes a place where they ask to serve because it was a part of who they are. We are discipling them and part of being a disciple is doing God’s work.

Kids can set an example for others in the church. The disciples were actually young but look at the differences they were able to make in our world.

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 18, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean talks about a teaching method he learned when he was a public school teacher.

This is a strategy which will help you to “let go of the bike and run alongside”:

Step 1: I do, you watch.

Step 2: I do, you help. In this step we are still doing but allowing the preteens to step in and help us do those things.

Step 3: you do, I help. As an example, a capable adult leader sits in the tech booth with two preteens who are learning to run the tech booth. They are running the tech booth and the leader is helping THEM to do it.

Step 4: you do, I watch. This brings us to the goal of letting them do on their own.

Hopefully these steps will help you to see where you are in your ministry. If you are stuck in step 1 you may not be at the full preteen potential. As ministry leaders, we can move our preteens forward. We can help them as they are taking ownership of their faith and walk with 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/.

May 18, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean, Heather Dunn and Paula Mazza share some wisdom from a conversation they recently had with a ministry leader who was having difficulties.

Many of us are willing to get in there and get it done no matter the cost, with a tendency to take on everything and overwhelm ourselves. Those of us that are the “worker bee” type are not good at setting boundaries. When we step back and admit that we have taken on too much and that we are exhausted, that is when we are taking a positive step in ministry. When we say we are tired, we open up the door for someone who God has placed in the body to fill that role.

They have been there the whole time but always felt that there was a capable person handling it, so they never speak up.

Are you making sure everything is prepared for the service (hunting down crayons, or paper, etc) and filling up your margins, or are you making yourself available to give yourself relationally to the students and volunteers?

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 15, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean discusses the idea of using the authority you have been given in your ministry to encourage and build up others.

Most of us would prefer to shy away from confronting someone because we don’t like confrontation. That is one of the hardest parts of our position as authorities in our ministries. Instead we need to look at this opportunity as a means of building up others in a loving manner not a confrontational manner. Sean discusses the idea of wasting our authority if we do not use it to encourage others. If we are not bringing about change to the environment of our ministries so others can perceive and respond to God, the authority granted us is wasted. Sean encourages us to think about a preteen with a behavior problem or leader that we can confront in a loving manner that would bring about change. Always remember you have been placed in this authority role, so use that authority in a loving way to make your ministry a positive place where people can see and respond to 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/.

Apr 20, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean and Makenna speak about how you can begin to discuss lofty theological ideas with preteens. 

They specifically are discussing this illustration that Elevate used to talk about justification, sanctification and glorification. The illustration uses a mirror and dirt and spray bottles to discuss the idea of these two theological concepts. Makenna shares what she used recently during the message to explain justification, sanctification and glorification to the preteens. During the message she used a wardrobe style mirror that was covered in coffee and dirt and it was pretty nasty. To explain justification, she noted that God doesn’t look at our reflection he looks at Jesus’ reflection. For this mirror the process of sanctification is squirting it with a spray bottle of cleaner which doesn’t take away everything, but bit by bit like God cleans away the dirt (sin) away so that we can reflect God better back to the world.

As Makenna squirted the mirror the coffee stain slowly trickled down and then used a paper towel to clean off one spot where God had removed the sin to show how much better we are able to reflect the light. For glorification Makenna used the same mirror but dumped a whole bucket of water onto it. To do this portion of the illustration she had the mirror inside of a large bucket to catch the water.

Illustrations can be a great step for preteens to be able to understand these lofty theological ideas. Here is a link to a previous podcast where we discussed this same idea. 

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 19, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks about the idea of having preteens serving the younger students as a means of serving and ministering to preteens.

Sean believes that this idea of having the preteens serving the younger students is a great FIRST STEP of beginning a ministry to preteens, especially when you don’t have the resources to have a separate ministry for the preteens. FourFiveSix has lots of great information about how to start a preteen leadership program.

Sean emphasizes that this is a great first step, but it is definitely not the last step. Sean explains there is more to the ministry like spiritual development for the preteens. He poses the question, what are you doing to engage preteens beyond allowing them to serve? Check out fourfivesix.org/bike and THIS PAGE which discusses six ministry techniques to help preteens step into faith-ownership.

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 19, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean shares a portion of Paula Mazza’s breakout session at the 2018 Preteen Leaders’ Conference entitled Power of Play.

Paula discusses the emotional issues that preteens suffer from that swing all over the place. Preteens emotions can become very evident during game time. Preteens have so many changes going on in their bodies that cause these can cause huge emotional swings. They begin to think like adults but lack the experiences to help guide them. They are striving for independence from their childhood. What we see on the outside isn’t always what is going on inside, especially emotionally.

These understandings of the emotional stage that preteens are in can help us when we plan games for our preteens. When we plan games for preteens, we need to realize that games can be a great way to provide a language for them and a time when they can try out new things to figure themselves out.

During the podcast, your hear participants from the conference share both positive and negative effects of games in preteen ministry.

This recording is only part of Paula’s session. Get the entire session, and all of the other recordings from the 2018 Online Conference 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 17, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean and Makenna discuss the new Diamond Collector Card Game developed by FourFiveSix.

The card game was developed to help preteens talk about the pressures in their lives. There are three different colors that focus on specific pressures:

  • red cards focus on pressures from God,
  • green cards focus on pressures from peers
  • blue cards focus on the pressures from authorities.

These cards can be used a couple different ways.

  1. The Diamond Collector Game, where you are trying to create diamonds by using the pressure cards and the rock truth cards in your caves. In addition to the rock and pressure cards there are effect cards that can change things that occur during the game when they are activated. The goal of the game is to earn more diamonds than everyone else.
  2. A game similar to Apples to Apples. The first person puts out a pressure card and everyone else looks at their Rock Cards (bible verse cards) and turns one in that they feel would be helpful in the pressure situation. The person who placed the pressure card then reads the rock cards and decides which one best matches the pressure and they award diamonds to the winning card.
  3. Small Group discussion about pressures. There are also Small Group Discussion Questions included with the cards that can be used over the course of four weeks.

The cards can be purchased at diamondcollectorcards.com or for ministry leaders you can go to fourfivesix.org/diamonds where you can purchase a 100-ministry pack which is enough for 5 students.

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 16, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean shares an excerpt from Patrick Snow’s main session at the 2018 Preteen Leaders’ Online Conference.

Patrick explains the change that occurred for him in ministry two and a half years ago. As a consistent preteen leader Patrick was always there as the groups of preteens rotated through the ministry. Two and a half years ago everything changed when his pastor asked him to follow a group of boys, starting when they were in 5th grade and staying with them until they are seniors in high school. This was a step out of Patrick’s comfort zone for sure. The beginning was chaos, he admitted. Now that he has been with the boys for two and a half years, things are changing. The boys are excited to see him, and they are beginning to open up more. Patrick is excited to see the boys and they can have much deeper conversations now. Being a constant drip in their lives allows for a much closer relationship with 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/.

Mar 15, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Louie Schmitz about the idea of a spring retreat for your preteens.

Louie explains the idea of their 4th and 5th grade retreat. They take the preteens away for one night and bring in a guest speaker. They are going to a campground not too far from the church on the church bus and bringing in a speaker, the worship is provided by the middle/high school band. They have three breakout sessions with a driving theme and small groups following each one. This schedule creates intentional time for the leaders to connect with the preteens.

The idea of taking preteens away for a day or more allows a deeper connection with them than the 90 minutes you get with them on a Sunday. The retreat they did two years ago was beneficial to not only the preteens but their families as well. If you have additional questions about the retreat idea, setting up a sports summer camp program or even the bonus information Louie shares in the podcast about their March basketball bracket competition, you can email him at louie@mstar.church.

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 14, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean discusses the idea of focusing on who you teach rather than what you teach.

Sean spent some time with Chip Henderson this last weekend and they discussed the concept of using a church wide study so that parents and children can go home and discuss the same things they both learned. The problem in this is that there are things that need to be taught that won’t be taught anywhere else to the younger generations, like preteens or junior higher.

However, these topics will be talked about when you start with the “who” first. By starting with the “who” it allows you to come up with a different “what” versus starting with a blank slate and figuring out what you want to teach first, and then making it fit your students.

When you have this “first, what I’m teaching” mindset, it exacerbates the negative perception of behavior problems that arise because you are focusing on the “what” and the preteens are keeping you from the “what”. By focusing on the “thing” versus focusing on this person, that student can feel like they are getting in your way. When you start with the “who,” you may come up with a completely different strategy than if you started with the “what” first.

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 13, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speaks with Hannah Bush from Metropolitan Baptist in Houston Texas, about a mystery activity called the Donut Whodunit Mystery.

Hannah needed an activity for the Plug n Play time during Superstart!, and that is when the Donut Whodunit Mystery was born. It is a fun activity on a limited budget. It is set up kind of like a live game of Clue, and the leaders and staff act as the characters in the story. The preteens are the intelligence agency (the P.I.A.) sent out to solve the mystery. After performing tasks and receiving clues and profiles from the characters they were able to make accusations to the chief detective.

This is a simple activity that could take place just about anywhere. We are attaching the information here for you to review if you would like to play the Donut Whodunit Mystery.

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 2, 2018

Today on the podcast, Sean speak with Armando Flores, an elementary/preteen pastor out of Southern California, and an interesting idea he has using buttons and badges for his preteen leaders.
Armando explains how he intentionally disciples to certain students in the large crowd. With the use of badges, he is able to distinguish between regular attendees and those students they are trying to disciple. The students receive a laminated badge (similar to the volunteers) and a lanyard. These students no longer have to wear the computer printed name badge which is the first differential. The badge is also used to help monitor behavior in their leadership team.
Additionally, there are the buttons that distinguish jobs. Students buttons distinguish the area of ministry they work in. If a student is scheduled for a job but is unable to make it the adult leader in that area can look for someone with that button to come and assist them. He also discusses how they use buttons for their monthly bible reading/devotion. Students are able to earn the monthly buttons and at the end of the year they can earn the Mega Button that shows they read the bible in a year.
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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