How to Run Kids Church Using Teenagers without Sacrificing Safety or Excellence

What if teenagers could strengthen the faith of kids  AND grow in their own faith at the same time?

Disclaimer: None of this is tried and tested as of yet, but the idea excites me, and so I want to share it, especially for the sake of getting feedback before we launch.

Once the experiment begins, I’ll update this post.

So here’s the idea: We’ve created a Sunday morning kid’s service format that is run by teenagers with minimal adult participation.

Our goal: The youth will grow as Jesus followers while simultaneously helping kids to grow as Jesus followers.

So here’s the nuts and bolts:

Adults are present but only for safety, parent interaction, and oversight

We’ll have only 2-3 adults at the service for interaction with parents at check-in, overseeing free-time, safety, and overseeing the service, but the adults will have no active roll in the flow of the service.

Teens partner with kids One-on-One

The first 15 minutes of the service will be One-on-One time, meaning 1 teenager will sit down with 1 kid.

They’ll play a 2 person game, and have a conversation around pre-written questions we’ll provide.

Large Group is done through video

We know that teenagers can be unreliable and generally unprepared, so the large group time will be done almost exclusively through video.

We use Orange Curriculum, which provides video elements for an intro, story, and closer.

A couple teenagers will MC during transitions.

So here’s what Large Group will look like: 1) We’ll play the intro video 2) the teens will play a large group game with the kids 3) We’ll play the story video 4) We’ll play the closing video 5) We’ll play a worship song while kids pray 6) A teen will pray and dismiss to small groups.

Teens will lead AND be challenged to grow in Small Groups

The teens will lead the small groups but also be challenged to grow.

The questions and games for small groups will be designed so that the teens will answer along with the kids.

The small group activities will be designed to be fun for teens and kids.

In other words, we’re gonna challenge the teens to be just as active as the kids in small groups, so the teens and kids are challenged to grow together.

I’m really excited to try this out. I know it’ll be a rocky ride, but I think it has the potential to make a huge impact.

If you have ideas to make this format better or concerns that I haven’t anticipated, leave a comment!

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4 Responses

  1. Kirkley Peterson says:

    This is actually how one of our kids church services is structured. I have a team of amazing HS and JH volunteers helping out every week. They lead the small groups, worship and from time to time I challenge a few to stand up and do the opener/closer/bible lesson. It’s great having them on the team. I do believe their faith grows and it connects them in a deeper and different way.

  2. Carol Bonham says:

    Our 6-9th graders perform the skits, lead activities, and run games. We have 2 teams of teens so, they are ‘on’ every other week. We rehearse weekly and it gives us the opportunity to build leadership skills in our teens. We have 2 adults that lead the teams. We have around 25 kids and 12 teens each week. The teens love the opportunity to serve in this way. We run a child safety training at the beginning of each school year before we let our teens serve.

  3. Robyn says:

    For the most part this is how our services run. 95% of our volunteers staff are teenagers. They lead the worship, games, story host, and small groups. Our children’s pastor and a few adults are there for supervision, check in, safety, clean up… But for the most part it’s teenagers serving and growing with the children. It isn’t always easy, teenagers will be teenagers, but it’s awesome!

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