The quarterback takes the ball, and hands it to the running back. The running back forgot the play for a second, maybe the quarterback goofed and was a split-second late—either way there’s a problem with the exchange and before you know it the ball squirts from his hands on to the AstroTurf™. FUMBLE!
Something went wrong and the end of the play usually leaves everybody wondering what it was and how to make sure it never happens again.
The children’s ministry is doing their own thing. The college ministry is on their own page, too. Big church is doing something completely different. Oh boy. Here come the kids—there go the seniors. How can we be better at the crucial handoffs between our ministries? Is it possible not to fumble this important part of youth ministry?
That’s what we’re going after this week: lots of practical stuff coming tomorrow, but today let’s focus on the big picture.
1) The handoff is critically important.
Often times students leave in the transition. In junior high they were forced to come to church with the family. In high school they have some options. In college the have total freedom. In each life stage the handoff is a vulnerable time to lose students as they move from one ministry to another.
2) It is difficult to move from a ministry you love to the unknown.
Students who LOVE their junior high ministry might be intimidated by the bearded upperclassmen in the high school ministry, or maybe a young adult is so comfortable with the college ministry they have a hard time moving up to big church because it is largely unknown to them.
3) Change is challenging.
Even people who thrive on change feel the intimidation of it—they just have a different response to it from there. Feel the pain of change, even if you love and trust the leaders in the ministry a student is heading to next!
- Some things for you to journal about today:
- What was your experience in the youth ministry handoff as a young person in the church?
- Think of some people by name who have transitioned well, and some people who didn’t make it to the next level.
- Describe the perfect spiritual life development plan from birth to big church.
- Answer the question—when is the best time to transition students up in your ministry?
- What can I do today to make the handoff better for those entering my ministry and for those graduating?
- Take some time to figure out where you’re at right now. Pray about where you believe God wants you to go!
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.