Who Are These Tweens?

I co-lead a 6th grade retreat at a church in Philly this past Friday. It was just a day retreat, did it with Tom, something we’ve done the past three years now. Part of this tradition is to go to and grab a cheese steak (definitely a great part of the trip). One thing Tom and I always discuss before, during and after the retreat each year is the level of humor that goes into tween ministry. I get these videos from bluefish.tv and some are really funny and the students in our 5th/6th grade program Ascent, love them. Anyway, we show some of these videos at the retreat and same reaction, the students love them.
I think when it comes to serving students it’s a little easier to engage high school students because of their maturity, than it is the tweens. At this point in a tween’s life they still want to be a kid, but they also want to be all grown up. So there is this battle that goes on internally and as a youth pastor you have to ask yourself, “What’s the best way to target and engage a tween?”
I think it’s got to be a good mix of humor and challenges. The humor makes it fun and breaks the ice, the challenges get them engaged and help point them in a direction they need to travel in their spiritual journey. I can’t tell you the balance because I don’t have it figured out but if you want to work with this group you need to know how to laugh at yourself and encourage the students to take themselves seriously (empower them). The 5th/6th grade crowd is a new arena (at least for me), where this ministry will go in the next few years is a mystery, but I definitely see the need.