Posted by: Chris Sandel | February 20, 2008

Conference Thoughts – Jr. High Ministry

It has been a really good conference so far.  It isn’t really a conference exactly.  It is more like a retreat.  This year we’ve got about 50 people here plus a few spouses and kids.  They are all student ministers at churches that run somewhere between 1,100 and 18,000 in average total attendance.  Student ministry can be quite a bit different in a large church environment and it is really good to spend a few days meeting guys who do the same thing as you.  It is fun to talk about life and ministry with people going through a lot of the same things as you. 

Being a Jr. High minister specifically, I don’t run into many people who share my profession.  I only know of two guys (one that I just met) within a few hours of Springfield who focus exclusively on ministering  to 6-8th grade students and I rarely get to talk with them.  One of the coolest part of this “conference” for me is just spending time with other Jr. High ministers.  There are 13 of them here and getting us all together makes for a weird group but I also feel like we’re kindred spirits.  We’re all different and we serve in different places (everywhere from small midwestern towns to big cities like Dallas and Las Vegas) but we all share a passion for the oft rejected people group of early adolecent students.

Since I’ve been here I’ve gotten several good ideas that we may consider trying out in our ministry.  One guy mentioned something that they do every year to help 5th graders transition into their ministry.  At the beginning of the school year they set aside a saturday and they kidnap all of the 5th graders and take them to the church.   They show up outside of their house at 6AM, pull them out of bed and take them to the church.  It sounds a little crazy but it has turned into a highlight in their ministry and it creates a great memorable moment.  I talked to another guy over dinner who said the best thing they do is a Middle School V.B.S.  That sounds like something that wouldn’t go over very well but they’ve piggy backed on the momentum of an event involving the whole church and it has become a big win for their ministry.

Who knows what we will actually impliment when I get back.  There are many more ideas and strategies to consider.  But part of the success of this trip is just knowing that there are a bunch of other guys around the country who are fighting in the same Mountain Dew filled trenches, reaking of lingering Axe and prepubecent B.O. and trying to point kids toward Christ.


  1. oh, yes, please. Let’s KIDNAP kids! lol 🙂

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