Helping families and ministries effectively transform the lives of preteens…


Posted by preteenedge on June 5, 2007

joes-pictures-067.jpg When I think about transitions, I think about the picture on this post… This is a picture of my cousin and myself (I’m the one in the orange shirt getting hosed by the squirt-gun) having a water gun fight. What started as a simple and fun squirt-gun fight ended up being a serious game of strategy and purpose. In preteen ministry we must find the balance of making ministry to preteens simple and fun to something that is strategic and with purpose. The tricky part is transitioning from one mindset to the other, because it is easy to loose one mindset for the other. In the squirt-gun fight, my cousin and I shifted gears so fast that we totally lost focus of what we originally set out to do (That was shoot at our kids). When we got serious I lost interest, because I wasn’t ready for serious strategy and such. He lost interest, because I didn’t want to have a serious outlook to what we were doing. Our transition from one extreme to next was all messed-up, so we lost interest and quit. This happens too many preteens when it comes to their walk with God and their interest and involvement in church. This is why one of the keywords that is the backdrop, motivation and driving force for preteen ministry is “TRANSITION.”

While a big part of preteen ministry is focused on reaching preteens where they are currently at, a lot of what happens in preteen ministry is geared towards preparing kids for the next level, whether that is preparing them for the 6th grade ministry, Jr. high/Middle school ministry, the student ministry, or preparing them to leave elementary ministry and enter into preteen ministry (This all depends on how your church is structured by grading and grouping). The reason for this is that the preteen years are by nature a transitional time in a person’s life: puberty starts to take transformation in many preteens lives (Yes, this includes the smelly odors and such). The way preteens start to think is also beginning to transform, such as from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. Emotionally and spiritually, preteens begin to transform their thinking about the opposite genders, friends, and God in more serious ways than before. What’s funny is that I have had some people tell me that not all preteens begin to show or demonstrate these changes. However, that is the funny nature of preteens – they are all over the place, they are all at many different transitional starting points in life!

Research has shown that poor transition leads to many kids not connecting with key relationships or the identity of the ministry at the next level they are entering into. What this means is that they will eventually fade from that ministry and most likely loose their connection with God. What we must do as leaders is make transition for preteens, who are both entering in our ministries and exiting our ministries, purposeful, intentional, and exciting (ie… full of anticipation). Over the next couple of blogs, I will shown you what we do at my church, I will show you what others are doing, and I will give you ideas on what you can do in your situation. Please feel free to chime in on this discussion – which is so important to preteen ministry.



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The Best Preteen Event

Posted by preteenedge on May 23, 2007


This is the best preteen event around (I think it is the only one). I have been to this event three times and had a blast each time (They change the theme of the event each year). Both preteens and adults will love this event.

SuperStart is a two day themed event designed with the needs and interests of preteens. Preteens will experience three main sessions that are full of high-energy worship, interactive teaching, and small group time. On Saturday there is an off-site recreation time, called plug -N- play which was created to give preteens and their adult sponsors a time to build relationships.

What: SuperStart Preteen Event

Who: 4th, 5th, and 6th graders and their parents, youth pastors, children’s pastors, and volunteers.

When & Cost: See their website for this kind of information.

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Funny Things Preteens Say…

Posted by preteenedge on May 15, 2007

The other day my wife over heard my 11 year old son say something hilarious. He said, “A pack of paper – $1.99, pack of straws – $.99, spit-wade – priceless!” Apparently he said this after he spit a spit-wade at his sisters – what to do, what to do…

Then to top it all off, my 9 year old asked her older sister (Who is 13) if she wanted her fries. She said, “Angelica, do you want my fries – they come with free ketchup!” She will be a very successful salesperson some day.

Preteens – they sure keep a house full of laughter and life.


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Purity Resource for Moms and Daughters

Posted by preteenedge on May 9, 2007


Secret Keeper Girl promises to be one of the greatest tools contemporary moms have to connect with their 8-12 year old daughters, while at the same time teaching them vital truth about beauty in a world that bombards them with lies. But don’t count on this Bible study to feel like homework! Secret Keeper Girl is the most fun you and your daughter will ever have digging into God’s Word together. (Think: facials, tea parties, shopping challenges.)

I have not, nor has my wife personally used these Ideas with any of our daughters, but one of the ladies that is in charge of our 5th and 6th grade girls purity retreat has , and she says that she really enjoyed doing this with her daughter.

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Purity Curriculum Resource for Parents and Workers of Preteens

Posted by preteenedge on May 4, 2007


Passport2Purity is a resource to help parents prepare their preteens for sexual purity. It will help them connect with their preteen during a fun, interactive weekend retreat! This exciting, guided weekend for father and son or mother and daughter will prepare their preteen for physical changes to come, preempt peer pressure, and establish biblical principles on sex and dating. They will have the opportunity to connect with their son or daughter in a deeper way, create a heart-to-heart time for some of life’s most intimate issues, and help their child decide in advance what his or her convictions will be, based on God’s word.

This is a resource that I have available for our preteen families to check out and use. My wife and I have used it with our oldest daughter (She is in jr. high now) and several other people I know have used it and highly recommend it!



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Posted by preteenedge on April 26, 2007

Is this what you’ve been lookin for?

If you have been looking for a Bible to recommend to your preteens and parents, or if you have been looking for a Bible to have for extras in your classroom – then this is the one for you!

It has a devotional plan, which takes preteens through the Bible. It also has really cool graphics throughout the Bible, which are not boring or cheesy. Whats more, it is designed with the preteen in mind. My 10 year old son loves to use it and he likes to read all the extra content on the sidebars (He also reads the main content 馃檪 )

Book Description

Discover life 鈥渙n the edge鈥濃攖hat exciting time between childhood and adolescence (a.k.a. the tween years). The Edge Devotional Bible is packed with great stuff just for tweens. This Bible brings the wisdom of the Bible right into the real world of today.
Check out what鈥檚 inside:
路 260 Daily Devotions by Mark Littleton and Marnie Wooding
路 52 Weekend Devotions by Sandy Silverthorne
路 Power Thoughts highlight important themes and help readers see how the Bible fits together
路 Line Art Sketches throughout for a “newspaper comics” appeal
路 Five characters鈥擩enna, Josh, Miguel, Sam, and Kaitlyn participate in the devotions (and also appear as line art sketches) to help kids relate to the Bible passages
路 Full Text of God鈥檚 Word in the best-selling New International Version庐
路 22 Full-color Tip-in pages
Get the inside edge on God鈥檚 Word for tweens with The Edge Devotional Bible.

I searched far and wide for the right Bible for my preteen ministry and this one has really fulfilled what I needed. I recommend it for anyone looking for a Bible that they can recommend to preteens or have as extras in their classrooms.

(Click on the picture and it will take you to the page for this Bible)


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Posted by preteenedge on April 12, 2007

joe-edge.jpgWelcome to my new blog. I have been blogging since early 2005 (current blog: and I have a preteen ministry resource website: which serves both parents and preteen workers). Preteen ministry is my passion and I have been directly working with preteens for about four years and have been in children’s and youth ministry for about 11 years. I was a contributing author to three books about preteen ministry called “Preteen Launchables” which are published by Group. Also I have contributed to an article featured in Children’s Ministry Magazine about preteen ministry. I have taught at several ministry conferences, leading workshops on preteen ministry, and I am currently writing a book about volunteers in preteen ministry (Hopefully it will be done soon). I write all this to say that I know a little about preteen ministry, but I am still learning a lot more than I know!

This blog – “Preteenedge” is a spin-off of the ministry to preteens at Christ’s Church of Oronogo ( Our preteen ministry is called “The Edge” because preteens are on the edge of kiddieland and teenland. I know many people refer to preteens as tweeners, middlers, etc… However I don’t like to refer to preteens in this way, because those terms make it seem like they are stuck and not moving and are going nowhere – that they are just there existing (Which does not come close to describing 5th grade boys!). On the contrary; preteens have and are moving! The life of a preteen is constantly moving and transitioning; physically, emotionally, socially, and most important – spiritually (I know; I was once a preteen and currently a dad of two preteens and one teenager)!

With this blog, my goal is to use it as an informative tool to both the parents and as a resource tool for those of us who work with preteens and their families. This will be accomplished by the use of stories from my life, from my ministry, and the community abroad. At times, there will be resource tools posted on this blog, such as other preteen ministry sites, curriculum, parent helps, and anything else that will be helpful to preteens, parents, and fellow preteen workers.

For more information about our ministry to preteens, checkout our website –

Keep it real in Christ

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THE ANATOMY OF KILLING A WASP One day a friend ca…

Posted by preteenedge on September 22, 2006


One day a friend called and asked if I would come over and kill a wasp that was flying all crazy in her house. Her husband was at work and she was afraid to be in her house, so my wife and I got in our car and drove to her house.

When we got there, I noticed that her nephew was there, I not sure how old he is, but what I noticed was that he was eager to come in the house with me and hunt down the wasp and kill it. Of course his aunt would not let him, but he wanted to any ways.

You know – many times preteens want to be and have the potential to be mature Christians that have the ability to slay the wasps in their life, but adults stop them and don’t let them in the house to learn the killing skills they need to slay the things that are trying to take them down and away from God!

At the church I minister at, I know that we are dedicated to give our preteens the “killing skills” to follow God and become all that God created them to be.


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SOCCER ANYONE! It was anyone’s game, both teams e…

Posted by preteenedge on September 1, 2006


It was anyone’s game, both teams exchanging goals, one right after the other. Elbows were flying, hard kicks were connecting too both, shins and the ball. Oxygen was in short supply and sweat ran off the combatants like a roaring river. The battle was intense as contestants from both teams jockeyed for postion and the victory!What’s more, this fiercely fought match went down to the wire.

No! I am not talking about a match-up from the World Cup of Soccer, nor am I talking about some Major League Soccer game! Instead, I am talking about “The Edge”, the youth soccer team that Christ’s Church of Oronogo sponsors and the hard fought soccer game that they played yesterday at King Jack Park in Webb City, MO. Our preteen ministry came about sponsoring a team, when “The Bridge” (A unique skateboard ministry that reaches out to youth and others) contacted out Children’s Ministry about sponsoring a team in their newly started youth soccer league. Our ministry is going to sponsor pre-K team, a K-4th grade team and our preteen (5th-6th grade) ministry is doing so as well (Thus, the team name “The Edge”). When the opportunity came for us to help support our community, we were more than willing. This opportunity not only gives us a chance to love and encourage some of our kids and their families outside of church, but it also helps us reach out and connect with families that we do not know. We also tell the kids in our ministry to go out and support out team.

What does your preteen ministry do to get involved in your community? Post your ideas and I will post them in a blog.


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ALONG FOR THE RIDE… One of the things that is a…

Posted by preteenedge on September 1, 2006


One of the things that is a part of my responsibilities at the church that I minister at, is to help out in the Jr. High ministry in some capacity, or basically make sure that our out going 6th graders are making a good transition from our preteen ministry into our student ministry. For me, it means that I have a really good relationship with our Jr. High minister, or that basically “He is my best friend on staff”. Fortunately, him and I get along really well. Matt is a top notch guy, who is doing great things for our Jr. High kids. The other thing that I do is get involved in some way with our Jr. High ministry.

This past month, my event that I go on with our Jr. High group as a sponsor is a week long service project event called KNOW SWEAT. I attend this event for three reasons:

1. I go to help be a positive presence for our out going 6th graders/new 7th graders, by helping be a familiar figure, as well as help them transition well.

2. I go to help build my relationship with our Jr. High minister and check-up on our new 8th graders (Which are former preteen ministry kids).

3. I go to help, because it helps me measure and gage all the things we did for the past two years with these former preteens, by observing our former 6th graders in situations that call on them to be leadrs and to act more mature.

I do this with all intentionality, what do you do to help you measure the growth of your preteens?


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