Sharing a little love for Middle Schoolers

The fall of my senior year in college I was applying for a 2 year Internship position at my home Church in Fairfax, VA.  At the time I was volunteering with Young Life in a High School club.  I really liked working with high schoolers and I had envisioned working with high schoolers for this Internship.  However, my future boss threw me a curveball.  He actually asked me to consider…taking the Middle School position!!

Whoa, wait a minute, right?  High Schoolers are cool, middle schoolers are nerdy, weird folks.  I can’t do that.  Plus, I had never worked with middle schoolers and did I mention that they were middle schoolers!  They couldn’t “get God”.  They were too young and crazy!

So needless to say I was a little thrown.  But he asked me to pray about it which I did.  And the remarkable thing was that as I prayed about it the more peace I had about it.  It was a weird calming force over me saying, “take it”.  So, I did.  And honestly, working with primarily middle schoolers for over 6 years was an amazing experience for me.

However, as I spent more and more time in Youth Ministry, I slowly moved from just middle school ministry into overall “Youth Guy” (aka Youth Director, Pastor, Minister – overseeing all of the ministry, not just middle school).  Not being able to focus all my ministry time on middle schoolers is a bit of a let down, but every chance I get, I try to hang with the middle schoolers.  And here is why…

  • They want to have fun.  They are in that weird, in-between world where they want to be cool, but they also love the “kidish” stuff.  That makes it great to program for because you can be “silly” and it still seems cool.
  • Because they want to have fun, leaders can be particularly “silly”.  I hate to take myself too seriously, so any chance I can get to be young again, I will.  And, for the most part, those middle schoolers eat it up.
  • They want to be cool, but don’t know how.  As I stated above.  They are in this weird in-between stage (tweeners).  So this gives you a chance to help show them how to be cool, in a godly way.
  • They want to learn…they are moldable.  They haven’t made their mind up yet.  They aren’t “set in their ways”.  They are still learning and discovering what life is going to be about.  That provides us leaders with a great opportunity to model them in the shape of Christ.  They want to learn, they just need someone to walk beside them through life.
  • They are are at a huge intersection in their life. The middle school years are the 1st real life change they experience where they start making decisions about life.  They are choosing potential career options in school.  And, they are choosing friends to hang out with that their parents may not (and probably don’t know).  They are able to process more information and do more things while at the same time too young to fully grasp the pros and cons of their decisions.

For all these reasons above, I love working with middle schoolers.  And, I believe that if you have an excellent middle school program, your high school program will be blessed, more healthy and grow in significant ways.

So what say you?  TAKE A MINUTE and post a comment about why do you love working with middle schoolers and share a little love for these tweens.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

4 thoughts on “Sharing a little love for Middle Schoolers

  • February 25, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I love working with middle schoolers for all the reasons you mentioned above! I really love that they are teachable and moldable. Their unfiltered honesty is always a plus too!

    • February 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      Completely agree with that Adam! Thanks for commenting

  • February 25, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I'm the daughter of a children's pastor. She started this ministry path when i was in middle school, so for about 10 years now i have been working with the little ones,and thought that is where i would always be, until God opened the door for me to move up to middle school, as a leader for winter camp, and from that i picked up the title of middle school mid week leader. I have a small group about 4-6 girls right now, but i love it! They are silly and goofy but want to learn and grow. I love that i can share more of my journey with them, and that i can talk about the tough stuff that causes heartache for so many young people. While i do love the little guys, God has put a new passion in my heart…Middle School.

    • February 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      That is awesome Kelsey. I have 4 young daughters of my own and some are helping with the children's ministry right now. I pray that my girls grow up with a ministry heart that you have. Thanks for your comment!


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