Preteen Ministry: Reaching Kids in Transition

Preteen Ministry: Reaching Kids in Transition

What image comes to your mind when you picture children’s ministry?  For many of us, it is a puppet interacting with a group of children or a minister using an inspiring object lesson.  Now what comes to mind when you picture youth ministry?  Perhaps you see a crazy game or a youth pastor leading a weekend retreat.  Either way, most of us have a definite opinion about what children’s ministry or youth ministry looks like.  There is, however, a middle area of ministry that is sometimes hard to define– preteen ministry.  This ministry area consists of children between the ages of 9 and 12.  They don’t consider themselves to be “little kids” anymore, but they aren’t quite teenagers yet.  These children are definitely in a transition period.  As children’s ministers, we want to reach them at this critical time and help them make the transition to youth ministry.

Ideas You Can Use


Use Small Groups Effectively

Effective use of large and small groups is important, especially if you cannot completely separate your preteen ministry from your younger elementary age students (grades 1-3).

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Involve Preteens in Ministry

Give preteens leadership roles in your children’s ministry. This will build their self-esteem and give them purpose and fulfillment.

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Creativity is Key

It is important for preteens to have fun. Here are some creative ways to add excitement to your ministry.

Creative Ideas

Moving Up

Have a program for transitioning preteens out of children’s ministry and into youth ministry.

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They (preteens) need pastors and leaders who will stand with them as they test their legs, finding the footing of their faith as they discover a God who grows up with them.

Jim Kast-Keats


There are many resources that can help with preteen ministry. Click the button below for a list to get started.



Contributing Author: Curt Knowles
Curt Knowles is a member of the International Children’s Ministry teaching team. He has trained children’s ministers globally and throughout the United States. He and his wife, Sandy, have served as children’s pastors, evangelists, and camp directors over the past 15 years. Curt holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in both Computer Science and Theology, and has worked as a Data Architect/Engineer for the past 25 years. Curt and Sandy have two children (Jordan and Jeremy) and three granddaughters (Maddie, Emmy, and Chloe). They currently live in Gallatin, TN and serve on the 3Trees Kids Ministry serve team at 3Trees Church in Russell Springs, KY.