I know some youth ministries promote their students at the beginning of the summer and that’s awesome for you all. Well done.

For the rest of us, we promote with the school year. Except for this year, when school is in question, the youth group has been online all summer, and parents are 300% more anxious than they normally would be about their student moving from children’s ministry into the Student Ministry.

Our church has been doing a lot of brainstorming. I normally really brag on how we pull off the transition from 5th to 6th grade. Our children’s ministry does an excellent job preparing fifth graders for middle school and I really like how our ministry welcomes them in.

But all bets are off this year!

So instead of our normal procedure, here’s what we are doing to welcome in sixth-grade students.

Video series

Our fifth graders normally run through a 10-week course called “transitions” led by some awesome volunteers. Instead of that this year, we are recording a short video series we’re going to put on YouTube. It will include some children’s ministry leaders, volunteers, student ministry volunteers and me!

We will talk about what they have learned in children’s ministry and what they are going to learn in middle school ministry.

It won’t be as great as being in person for a small group, but it’s the first step.

Information pick up

When we did staycation bible school this year, we had parents pick up packets of supplies. It turns out they really enjoyed the small bit of communication and social interaction, so we’re going to replicate it for student ministry.

We’re going to fill up a box with student ministry swag and information and have parents come and pick it up with their students in tow.

Children’s ministry staff and youth ministry will hang out and talk to parents and students. This way we can make the handoff and introductions as smooth as possible.

Right now the plan is to do this on a Sunday after our online service at church., on Monday morning, and Wednesday night before our last step.

Invite them to student ministry

As of right now, we can meet in our sanctuary as long as we are wearing masks and are socially distancing. We plan on having an end of summer celebration and inviting the upcoming sixth graders to that.

Normally they would get to visit the middle school program a couple of times before they actually promote. Student ministry isn’t meeting on Sunday mornings right now, so that’s not possible. This will give both students and parents a chance to see what student ministry looks like it Wayside.

What we are still trying to figure out

What our parent meeting is going to look like?

We normally have one right before we start small groups. Not sure what that’s going to be at the moment.

What does small group ministry look like?

We’re not sure where we will be in two months when we would normally start our small groups.

What ministry will look like six months from now?

We all have more questions than answers at this point. But I want to make sure we welcome our new students well!

Any other ideas? I would love to hear them!