#VBSatTPC – A Look Back : Mentoring the next generation of student leaders in #KidMin

One of the best thrills as a leader is seeing the next generation take hold of responsibility and flourishing with it and that was one of the highlights of this summer’s VBS program.  In a summer where over 100 children and well over 70 families were impacted through VBS it is easy to say that it was a success based on numbers alone, but I think a successful summer needs to be summed up by more than just numbers.

            The biblical teaching was filmed in the months leading up to VBS, which allowed for a tight theme to run through each day’s lesson. Each day we focused on a different individual from the Bible and a characteristic that made each person unique in their personality as well as their relationship with God. The theme for VBS was “Bible Broadcast” and our byline was “I can be like ____________.” As we looked at the various individuals in the Bible we discovered what it means to pray, trust, listen and how to be courageous in your faith. As the children learned about key biblical concepts they were able to tie them all back to Jesus and His wonderful gift of grace.            

Strong Bible teaching was a huge focus for us this year because we wanted the children to continue to grow spiritually and to set our summer program apart from the multitude of city camps.

            A highlight for the leaders this summer was creating a mentorship model of leadership that ran from the youngest child to the oldest volunteer. Older children were given opportunities to lead games for the younger ones to show them that they had the gifts and talents to be a leader too. Our goal was that every child and volunteer would have a three people teaching him or her leadership principles and they would teach one person themselves.  This was important for us to develop a mentorship model this summer so that our church family continues to establish themselves as leaders, and to have opportunities to serve in years to come. This also helps us to create a natural progression through our summer programs that starts when you are four-years-old and ends after high school.  We used 2 Timothy 2:2 as our model.

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

            Thank you for all the families that sent their children to VBS and thank you to all our volunteers that made each day possible.  


How, when, and why do you split middle school and high school?

What a great question from Mark Oestreicher’s blog.

How, when, and why do you split middle school and high school?

We have had to address this question this summer based on a couple of factors.

1) Number of students that were in our old breakdown (going into grade seven and eight).

2) Number of students in our sr. camp (up to grade six).

3) Number of staff in each of the two camps.

4) Where will those students entering grade six in September thrive and learn more about their walk and relationship with God?

Our sr. camp staff are great at teaching the Bible to their age group, but looking at the students in terms of the developmental growth it seemed like the best fit for them would be to enter into the jr. high camp.

I am excited to see what happens with these students this summer. I am also aware that this question in the blog addresses splitting jr. high and high school, but I think the same question needs to be asked when we look at where we split our children’s ministries and our jr. high ministries as well.

Marko makes the following point in terms of how he views this question.

First, with the continued extension of adolescence (about 20 years long now, on average, from 10 or 11 through the 20s), the difference between 12 year-olds and 17 year-olds just seems more markedly pronounced than ever. And I’m no longer convinced that the benefit of momentum and energy and hype is worth the trade-off of providing a developmentally and culturally inappropriate ministry for either group.

Josh Griffin suggests that there will not be enough room, volunteers, budget, or time to keep your youth ministries combined.

Developmentally a 13-year-old kid and an 18-year-old new adult are worlds apart. While I like the idea of occasionally doing events or services together, I love the wins of programs that meet their needs specifically.

IN the same article on Slant33, Jeremy Zach sums up why he separates ministries this way.

Middle school students are concrete thinkers. They cannot think abstractly. They need life to be black and white. Middle schoolers are also intuitive. Somehow they manage to feel their way through life. Middle schoolers are emotional basket cases. Their emotional worlds consist of many highs and lows. So let the drama unfold and be the stable adult who anchors them in reality while affirming their crazy emotions. They need consistent adult relationships because they are so dependent. They also need to experience the affective side of God’s character. They need to feel Jesus in addition to just learning about him. This is why worshiping through music and environment are such a big deal for middle school students.

So I leave you with the same question that MarkO titles his post with:

How, when and why did you split jr.high and high school ministries? Leave us a comment as to what led to your decision, or leave us a question and we will dialogue this question together.


How, when, and why do you split middle school and high school?