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September 15, 2006


John Mitchem

I see this different. The staff is paid to have experts and the "youth" expert believes it a good idea and staff have confirmed that idea. So forming a parent whatever, is like asking the church memebrs to review and study how the Senior Minister preaches if he is correct. That would never happen, since we believe he (or she) is the leader and the expert who God sends to lead the flock, so we should also assume God sent the right leader to lead the flock of youth. If the church staff are not the experts, but parents are the experts they should elimante all cont education for the staff, since "Parents" would know better anyway. This would be like you suggesting them to form a commitee to study childern music. That not what staff does. Your Child director, needs to go back to that parent and support you 100 %.

Just my thoughts.

John Mitchem
a 15 year youth guy down the hall


I agree with John. A bureaucracy never helps anything.


I think you should go the way your school is set up. It was just beginning to be talked about in my last place, and here i don't have to worry about it. maybe you can put it to the parents this way. I guarntee you that 6th graders don't mind right now doing events with 5th graders because they are in the same school. once they are in the same school as 7th graders, they are going to want to do things with them. if you keep them with the 5th graders, your attendence may drop, because they don't want to do things with kids from elementary school. entering middle school is a great rite of passage, and it should be honored in the church as well. Good luck!



This is never a fun situation. My wife an I are the youth ministry team for our church (volunteer). Granted, we are a fairly small church, but the issue of 6th grade has always been a tough call. The school systems in our area currently have the "middle school" approach of 6,7, and 8th grades together. We have followed that model with our ministry, but it has caused stress at times. Now, some of the surrounding school systems are getting ready to trasition back to the 7&8th grades together with the 6th dropping back with the 5th grade. So now if we follow the model of the schools, we are in for confusion because not all of the schools are making this change.

As for the parent's involvement, that is also a tough one. I don't know the size of your church, but we have tried to involve as many of the parents as possible in decision discussion. We have invited all of the parents and prefaced the discussion with "We have our opinion about what may work the best for the youth, but we want to hear from you, also." This is always approached with the support of our church leadership, who we have already prayed with and sought their advice.

Just remember, Jesus never sought to please the crowds. He always followed the leading of His heavenly Father. We (in youth ministry) must do the same.


You dont know me,but i was doing a search on Google and your blog came up and i felt it on my heart to post a coment.
I am a seventh grade girl and at my church the Jr.high group consists of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. When i was a 6th grader i started coming to the Jr.high bible studies and it really helpde me to make the transition from 6th to 7th. Being around older kids helped me to become a more mature teenager(if that makes any sence!) I think that if God put it on your heart to change the system, then that is exactly what you should do.
~a fellow Christian


I am in 6th grade and i am tired of being in elemantry school. It is so boring and it's time for me to make new friends. ^th grade should be part of middle school and I did reserch and most kids that are im elemantry school that r in 6th grade want to be in middle school.

John Wallace

I understand your frustration. Sixth grade in the public middle school system launches a full-scale assault on the self-esteem of any child, especially one who is trying to live for Christ. I've noted a substantial difference between 5th graders, who's public school experience places them at the top of the heap in a far more sheltered environment, and 6th graders, who are thrown into the complex, high pressure culture of middle school. In many ways, 5th graders are more secure and easier to teach. 6th graders are awkward, desperately in need of validation, especially from older students, because they get bombarded with disrespect in the public system. For these reasons I think it is imperative that 6th graders be afforded an opportunity to interact with older kids in church, kids who are working through their doubts and have been coached to mentor the younger ones. Ideally, this would occur in a middle school ministry that combines 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

John Henderson

This is also very frustrating for me...from 30 years working with youth I have seen it all ways and back and forth and back and forth. As long as the middle school youth group is separate from the high school group then it does not matter much. The problem comes when you have the 6th graders (and 7th for that matter)mixed in the high school. They are not ready for that and it causes problems for the kids that they are not ready to deal with. Middle school kids just want to have fun, be accepted and have someone to look up to. High School kids are preparing for life, learning to drive, starting jobs, getting into more serious relationships. Insecure 6th & 7th graders try to emulate them and not be themselves. The problem with high school boys making advances to junior high girls is a major problem. If you are in an inner city church the problems only multiply. Ideally, have a transistion year or summer and do special activities to prepare the 6th graders. Have a group for 7th-8th or 7th to 9th graders and another for 10th-12th graders. This last group can drive and need more intense discipleship as they are preparing for college and young adulthood. My wife and I have seen many young people plunged too early into the pressures of teenhood before they were ready and most of them ended up in relationships they were not prepared for and children having children. We are the guardians over our children and do not need to follow the ways of public school system who has failed miserably.

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