A complete discipleship system for leading intentional preteen and youth ministry


4 Tips For Building A Better Preteen Ministry

Welcome to the world of Preteen Ministry, where new feelings and skills run wild, and what our friends think of us reigns supreme. Whether you are still considering starting a Preteen Ministry or have been leading one for years, here are four tips for doing Preteen Ministry better.

Tip 1 – Set Better Goals

Start by setting goals, always keeping your “why” in mind, and the ideal result in focus to keep your ministry on track. Set achievable goals that help you shape the identity of your ministry. Setting goals like this will help you zero in on how you will program your meeting times, what events you will do, how it will be different from the Children’s and Student ministries, and most importantly, it will help you say no to some ideas that might be fun but don’t help you achieve your ideal desired result.

Tip 2 – A Place to Get Better at New Skills

Preteens are experiencing physical, mental, cultural, relational, emotional, and moral changes faster and more complexly than in any other stage of life. They can do more than they ever have been able to do before. They still need training wheels to work out their new skills in a protected environment, but this can help them gain confidence as they step into areas of more independence. There is no better or more pivotal time to intervene in a child’s spiritual formation than in this transitional phase.

A better Preteen Ministries creates an environment for preteens to have more freedom and independence to widen their horizons and test and practice their new skills. This desired environment does not give unlimited freedoms; it is just the next steps that are progressional based on trust earned and abilities developed, an environment where it’s safe to fail and then try again.

Tip 3 – Build Better Bridges

To have a better Preteen Ministry, you must use it as a bridge to help kids transition from childhood into adolescence. We build bridges through communication, creating an intentional environment for practicing new skills and providing opportunities to lead younger children while emulating older students. ⁣

Most of us learn better when something is modeled for us, especially when living the Christian life, not just knowing about God or the Bible. Your Preteen Ministry should provide events or moments for your student pastor and student leaders to join preteens and “cross-over” events for parents, preteens, and students to build relationships and see what the Student Ministry is like with their eyes.

Tip 4 – Better Communication = Less Hesitation

Parents of preteens and preteens can be hesitant about transitioning from Children’s Ministry into Student Ministry. Some parents are scared to admit their “babies” are growing up, scared of the unknowns of the Student Ministry quickly approaching, afraid to allow their child to have more freedom and independence, and scared of other preteen students. Yes, you read that correctly. They are worried that the students in the Student Ministry will introduce sinful behaviors, words, or content and corrupt their “babies.”⁣


You can assuage most of these fears by confronting them with the truth about students and the Student Ministry. Clear and frequent communication with preteens and parents during their years in the Preteen Ministry will take care of the rest. Communication about what you are doing and why you do it is necessary. Allow the student pastor access to do the same—to start building trust and communication pathways with the same group of parents and preteens before they graduate into the Student Ministry.

Try Deep Discipleship Preteens

Deep Discipleship Preteens is a complete curriculum and system with everything you need for ministry to 4th—6th grade students.

  • Biblical truth that goes beyond stories.
  • Lessons that help adult volunteers move from classroom management to relational mentors.
  • Tools that equip parents to guide their children into adolescents.
  • Bible-based Teaching Series
  • Series Graphics
  • Calendars
  • Parent Resources
  • Leadership Lessons and more!

Eric Ballard

I grew up in Mississippi but now call Texas home, where I live with my beautiful wife, Kandace, and two daughters, Kya and Bailey. I have nearly 20 years of youth ministry under my belt, so producing resources that help youth pastors disciple students is a dream job for me. Besides the LORD and my family, my greatest love is the Mississippi State Bulldogs, where I attended college for too many years. Because of an illustrious soccer career that was cut too short, most nights, I still sit by the phone waiting for the Houston Dynamo to finally call me up.

You May Also Like

Run a Thriving Preteen Ministry
Preteens are the most misunderstood, overlooked, and often avoided age group in kids' ministry. They are weird and awkward BUT have incredible potential! Instead of being stuck between children and student ministry, these kids can thrive and take sig…
Relationships are the Key to Preteen Ministry
For some, the word preteen may strike fear into their hearts, but for me, it brings joy! I have worked in a children's ministry setting for twenty years and have been in the trenches with all ages. But every time I find myself in a class with preteen…
Building A Preteen Ministry That Lasts
Vision Casting Few people set out to start a preteen ministry. Most either get asked (or told) to start one, or God puts a burden on their heart. There are a few resources for beginning a preteen ministry, but the real trick is keeping it going over …
New Blog Post
It’s closing in on summer quickly! Already, kids are enjoying the bliss of sleeping in late, going to the pool, family vacations, and all the fun things. Just around the corner, the new school year starts and you should already be thinking about the …
Ministry Builder