Here are 5 Secrets to a Successful Preteen Ministry:
1.) You must involve their parents. A 12 year old will want you to believe they're in high school - but they're in 6th grade. A teacher/minister must communicate with mom & dad what's going on. For example, a monthly newsletter, Facebook group for preteen parents, a Googlegroup for preteen parents, or a bulk text message lets mom and dad know what's going on, how they can be involved and events coming up for their child to attend. You cannot rely on the preteens to tell their parents what's happening.
2.) Allow preteens the opportunity to lead. Let them own the ministry - create a cool name (Infusion, Switch, Becoming), they should say the prayers, decorate the room, read the Scripture, give a testimony, lead worship, start the video, plan mission projects, set-up and take-down, clean-up).
3.) Programming should be cutting edge. Every 6th grader I know is on Facebook, Twitter, and carries an iPhone. They don't want to be read a children's picture Bible. Make sure the curriculum/lesson is geared towards 11 & 12 year olds and is up-to-date.
4.) Preteen ministry must be active, fast-paced. If you have 1 hour on Wednesday nights to plan for Preteens, here's a good schedule: Welcome/Hang-out (5 minutes), Game (10 minutes), Testimony/Ministry opportunity at school (5 minutes), Video clip about the lesson (5 minutes), Lesson (25 minutes), Prayer requests (5 minutes), Junk food (5 minutes). You need to come to class over-prepared with multiple changes throughout the hour.
5.) Plan outings and mission projects exclusively for preteens. Do not allow other ages to attend, especially younger children. For example, preteens can have a separate VBS class, drama team, mission projects, Preteen Sunday (a special Sunday when the entire service is devoted to them), Preteen Conference, and the Annual Preteen Kickball Tournament (the most favorite game of all 5th & 6th graders).
Which Bible Should You Buy your Preteen or Teenager?