So the BIG question is why did we decide to split up our Jr. Higher’s and Sr. Higher’s?
1. Our leadership wanted to see it happen
2. We felt like focusing on the two groups separately would allow us to be more intentional and allow for more spiritual depth
3. Our youth room was getting overcrowded at times
4. It would allow room for numerical growth
5. Jr. Higher’s were getting the short end of the stick
6. Sr. Higher’s didn’t want to be with the Jr. Higher.s
7. It limited what we could preach on
8. Parents didn’t feel safe having their 7th graders mixed in with 12th graders on the brink of hitting 18
9. We wanted to be obedient to our leadership and carry out their vision
As you can see these were enough reasons to make some changes so we got to work on a strategy.
The first thing that we had to ask ourselves was did we have enough staff to send over to the Jr. High department in order to get this thing off of the ground? Which we did. We had, at that time, 18-20 volunteer leaders and our group was about 30% Jr. High and 70% Sr. High so we could make this happen with a well balanced ratio of leaders.
Another thing working for us is that I have an associate YP whose focus is Jr. High. Some of you just thought to yourself “well no wonder that this guy can do that, he has an associate YP”. I see your point but at my previous church we did the same thing and we used a volunteer for Jr. High because we didn’t have an associate YP. It is possible if you select the right person and it’s crucial that you just don’t throw them into it without mentoring them prior to the split and showing them how to do it.
Secondly, we developed a well thought out strategy for the split of the two groups. We mapped out a full year to slowly and steadily make this transition because we wanted it to succeed.
Here was the strategy…
1. We had to figure out what we were going to do first, so we prayed and prayed and then hit the lab with a pen and a pad. We decided that we would do two services on the same night simultaneously and then developed the strategy to accomplish the vision.
2. We shared the vision with our leadership so that they would have a clear understanding of what we were planning on doing
3. We shared the vision with our Youth Volunteers and then asked them who felt a call to work with Jr. Higher’s. Bam, we now had two separate teams!
4. We had a vision casting meeting with parents at the beginning of the year after our 2nd service and provided lunch. This worked out perfect because we didn’t create another night out and we had food which brought in a bigger crowd than we had anticipated-that’s a good thing. We allowed parents to ask questions as well and after our meeting they were all on board and excited. This a good thing when parents become your allies and not your enemies.
5. We separated our Sunday School Classes into a Jr. high and a Sr. high to begin to create the separation.
6. We then began to separate our activities and do things as just Jr. Higher’s or just Sr. Higher’s
7. We continued throughout the year to talk about the split and we kept the vision before them
8. We’re creating a Jr. high mini youth center area with a snack shack, couches, TV’s, and video gaming systems (you don’t need all of these things to have a legit Jr. High ministry)
9. We’re now launching our separate services In 2 weeks
We are separating everything and that includes worship. We didn’t want to do worship together and then do that awkward dismissal and this is why it’s taken us a whole year. We are actually going to keep the sermon series in both groups the same so that we can share that common ground. It will help me and the Jr. High pastor because we can work together to develop sermons and sermon series. This will also make developing graphics, illustrations, and any videos we use easier than having to do two of everything.
I hope that this helps!
P.S. I wish that I could say that everything has gone smooth and we haven’t had any issues or that we haven’t had to adjust anything along the way but if I did I would only be lying. We have had to be flexible to change, youth volunteer fall out, logistics, and everything in between, but the vision has kept us on track.
keep it burning…