One of the most fun things that has happened for me in ministry happened a couple of weeks ago. It was the triumphant return of Wildlife our once a month middle school only gathering. Now if you are a big group and you have middle school and high school separate already you know how great this is. But if you have a small youth group like mine it is really hard to split middle school and high school on a regular basis. 1) because you don’t have enough staff and volunteers 2) you don’t have the space and 3) if you split your youth group you would have even fewer people in each group and things would get weird.
That is where Wildlife comes in.
Once a month we have a worship time that is only for middle school students. I would like to do it on Mondays and call it “Middle School Mondays” but I have other Monday obligations so we do it on the First Friday of every month. You may think that Friday is not a good night, but honestly middle schoolers aren’t out on Friday nights too often (their ball games are normally during the week, too).
Benefits of having a separate middle school worship service
- Let’s you have fun in goofy ways that some senior high kids might not enjoy.
- Allows deeper lessons and more serious tones at your regular meeting because your younger students have a time of their own.
- Offers great opportunity for seniors and college students to get some leadership training.
- Gives middle school students a fun “event” that they can invite their friends too.
- Let’s middle school students cut loose without trying to look cool for the high school kids.
- Is just generally fun!
Here is our basic structure:
- We have a theme and teams get points for everyone who dresses according to the them.
- There is always food!
- We play 3 messy games. These are all up on the stage and all of our games are boys vs girls.
- We spin the wheel of messes (just a fun game where someone can either get $5 or an egg on the head or other weird things like that (This lets me get more people messy without taking up as much time)
- We have a little clean up time
- We sing 2 or 3 songs. Normally we don’t have full band for this, just me doing some hand motion type songs.
- We have a short (read under 15 minute) lesson about the theme.
- We have small group time where our college students lead in discussion.
That simple structure of messy games (that look great on social media) and a short lesson creates an environment where students want to invite their friends. Creating Wildlife really helps me as I minister to both middle school and senior high students. If you would like to know more or have any specific questions just drop me a comment.