Summer is an excellent time for students and student ministers! One of the most exciting times in a student ministry is when everyone promotes up to the next grade. This usually means the Seniors in high school get a big celebration, but what happens to the other students who go from one to the next?

Let’s talk promotion in student ministry!

Who had them before? Who gets them now?

Whether your youth group starts with 6th or 7th grade, moving from the children’s ministry into the youth ministry is a big deal!

How can you communicate with your children’s ministry to ensure the promotion is a big deal?

The upcoming 6th grader students at our church do a five-week series where they combine like they will be in youth ministry instead of being separated between boys and girls. During this series, they discuss what they had learned in children’s ministry, possible fears of joining the student ministry, and the youth ministry’s purpose statement.

Our Seniors have a unique series of their own as well, where they talk about life skills, what they’ve learned from their time in youth ministry, and how they can choose a new church home if they’re moving or stay connected at our church if they are staying close by.

Throw a party!

Moving up grades requires a big celebration!

Promotion is a significant change for students, so make it a big deal for them! Have all the seniors come with you on a road trip to get milkshakes and talk about their life plans. Invite all the incoming middle school students for a swim party and pizza.

Have something where they can look back and remember that the student ministry made a big deal out of their promotion into or out of the youth ministry! Make plans ahead of time. If the season has passed by this year, put it on the calendar for next year!

Over Communicate to Parents

The older my kids get, the more I appreciate when their various schools and activities communicate often and over-explain what will happen.

Even if you’re unsure if parents read your emails, check social media, or frequently log onto the website, make sure the communication is written everywhere about what the promotion season will look like!

Let them know when the first day of everyone in their new grade will be. Blast when the incoming middle school party will be and what the last day seniors can attend youth ministry will be.

If you have a regularly scheduled parent meeting, have all the info ready and know what normal questions will get asked. The more you communicate to parents, the more they’ll trust the student ministry and the process!

Remember the 8th to 9th Grade Students

We usually think of promotion as when the middle school students move in and the seniors in high school move out, but what about that middle school to high school transition?

That’s a life-changing promotion as well!

Remember when you went from 8th grade to freshman year? Didn’t you have questions, concerns, fears, and struggles?

Find a way to acknowledge this upcoming shift for them as well! Have their small group leader take them out for ice cream and give them a chance to ask as many questions as possible. Have a prayer night for their parents to think about how they can minister to their changing and maturing student. Present them a devotional, so they can begin making their faith their own in this new season.

Promotion is a WIN for Student Ministry!

Whatever you do, make the time of promotion in your student ministry a celebration of maturing and growing students. Offer seasons of preparation for the next phase of life and milestones students can look back on with a smile on their faces.

We get an excellent opportunity to help guide students on their spiritual journey. Let’s take advantage of these times of promotion to help them take the next step, whatever that may be!