**This is a guest post from Nick Diliberto from PreteenMinistry.net
Preteens crave an authentic relationship with God and are eager to grow their friendship with Him. They’re capable of owning the relationship, independently of their mom or dad. One of the best things leaders can do is provide preteens opportunities to grow in their faith.
Here are a three ideas to help preteens grow their faith:
Easter is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, so launching some type of growth group afterwards is a great idea. A growth group can take on various forms. The basic idea is to design a small group with a specific goal in mind. The goal might be to go through a book of the Bible and ignite a desire to dive into God’s Word. Or it might be to encourage a vibrant prayer life during the week. Come up with a goal that works for your group and then launch it.
Keep these two ideas in mind when launching a growth group. First, let them choose to attend or not attend. That way only the students who really want to be there are present, which excels the growth process. Second, allow preteens to choose the topic or theme, which empowers them and builds excitement for the group.
Another way to grow the faith of preteens is to give them an opportunity to serve the community. Do an outreach event and have them be a part of the process. Ask them for ideas and recruit a core group of preteens to help plan the event. Preteens feel a sense of ownership when they are a part of the planning process.
Lastly, challenge preteens to live out their faith during the week. How can they apply Sunday’s lesson in their lives during the week? Give them tools and resources to live out the lesson. Maybe give them some Bible verses to think and meditate on during the week. Or give them an action steps to take. For example, if the lesson was on loving your enemies, challenge them to do one nice thing to an enemy during the week. Partnering with parents on this is a great idea. Experiment with ways to open the lines of communication so that they are involved. For example, if you challenged preteens to do a nice thing to an enemy or chew on some Bible verses, then communicate that to parents. Give them ways to follow-up with their preteens on those things.
Preteens are ready and eager to go deeper with God. Our job is to give them opportunities that empower and challenge them to grow.
Nick Diliberto is the creator of PreteenMinistry.net, which provides creative curriculum and resources for preteen ministry. He is also the preteen columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Children’s Pastor at Seven San Diego Church.