Improving the Middle School Ministry at Your Church with Dan Scott

Welcome back to this week’s unSeminary podcast. I’m happy to have Dan Scott from Orange with us today.

Orange is a leading organization for family ministry which partners with churches to help kids dig into a deeper relationship with Jesus, and also provides resources for parents as they influence their children’s faith. Dan is the Director of Elementary Curriculum and he oversees the teams that bring it to life. About 3000-5000 churches around the world are using Orange on some level, weekly or even just VBS products.

Dan is with us today to share insights on the unique season middle schoolers are in and how you can serve them well at your church.

  • First look. // In many cases, the lead pastor isn’t seeing the things that the kids and student ministry teams are seeing. The leaders working with these age groups often have a unique glimpse into what’s happening in families at the church; they are often the first to see that marriages are struggling, families are going through hardships, or parents are losing jobs. These insights inform how the lead pastor can address these situations from the platform or from other initiatives the church engages in to serve their community.
  • Stay up-to-date. // Have regular meetings with the youth pastor to know what’s going on in that area. Don’t just go through a straight line of talk on a list of topics and then be done, sit down together and really talk about what has been happening in student ministry, both successes and failures.
  • Time to be a kid. // Life is happening quickly these days and culture is accelerating faster than we can keep up with it. Kids and teens feel the weight of that and feel pushed into adulthood. Be aware that Sundays may be their only time to get a true rest from everything that’s happening. Youth pastors should remember that middle schoolers are caught between being a kid and growing up; they need time out from all the expectations placed on them so they can just have fun and be a kid sometimes.
  • Safe environments. // Middle schoolers are in a unique stage of life where their brains are just perfect for learning and growing. They are experiencing things that are setting them up for who they will be as adults. It’s at this stage that their identities are forming. Ask yourself if the environments in your church are safe places where pre-teens and teens feel they can ask their questions.
  • Break up classes. // Many times kids ministries may run kindergarten through 6th grade as one group, then 7th and 8th together, and high schoolers all together. Consider, however, that a 5th grader and 6th grader are similar with each other, but aren’t similar to a 3rd grader. Breaking kids up into narrower age groups allows ministry leaders to really target the messages kids in each group need to hear.
  • Caught In Between. // Dan has released a book called Caught In Between: Engage Your Pre-Teens Before They Check Out. He noticed that the pre-teen sometimes resembles the elementary kid phase and other times the middle school phase—you never know what you’ll get when you walk into the room. The first half of the book talks through what a day in the life of a pre-teen might be. The second half covers what the church can do to walk alongside them.

You can reach Dan on Instagram at DanScott77 or Twitter @DanScott77 and learn more about Orange here.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Purpose Driven Church Conference

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.