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Engaging preteens

Episode 105: Dan Scott on “Caught in Between: Engaging Your Preteens Before They Check Out”

In this episode, I talk with Dan Scott about his new book Caught in Between: Engaging Your Preteens Before They Check Out. This book leans into the undeniable fact that preteens start to check out of elementary ministry in the last couple years, but are also not ready to be with eighth graders who are heading to high school. Dan talks about the needs of preteens and what it looks like to create a separate, unique environment for them that can help them get the most out of this important transitional phase. From vision and principles, to practical tips on how to go about engaging preteens in your church, this conversation and this book point to some critical questions for children’s and student pastors as they seek to have a maximum impact on the faith of the next generation.

Dan Scott

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Links Mentioned in This Episode

Caught in Between

Episode 031: The Power of Story with Dan Scott

3 Questions Every Preteen Has

  1. Do I have friends?
  2. Who likes me?
  3. Who am I?

Questions to Ask When Engaging Preteens

  1. Do preteens have a space that is separate from the youngest elementary students?
  2. What does large group look like?
  3. How do small group leaders approach biblical content?
  4. Do preteens feel the responsibility of being the church of today?
  5. Do preteens know and feel that the church is the safest place to ask questions about faith?
  6. Is the content too activity-driven or too abstract?

Tips for Engaging Preteens in Your Church

  1. Create an experience for them to look forward to
  2. Recruit a team of volunteers that embraces this vision
  3. Lean into a unique small group experience
  4. Give preteens jobs and opportunities to serve
  5. Have events specific to preteens and their families

Keys to Remember When Introducing a Preteen Environment in Your Church

  1. Over-communicate
  2. Get the right people in the right room at the right time
  3. Facilitate conversations between children’s and student ministry leaders
  4. Know what your leadership needs to hear to come onboard and approach them with a plan
  5. Initiate focus groups and conversations with parents and preteens
  6. Network with other churches who are doing this and learn from them
  7. Implement your plan at a strategic time in the year

Action Items

  1. Get the book and read it
  2. Start something. Ask: What is one thing I could implement that would give preteens something unique and separate to look forward to?

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