RYM 045: Why Every Youth Leader Should Care About Preteen Ministry

Every phase in a student’s life presents unique opportunities, and the preteen phase is no exception. It’s in this phase where students aren’t really considered little kids anymore, but also aren’t quite middle schoolers yet. In other words, they’re caught in between two phases. On this episode, join Ashley Bohinc, Crystal Chiang, Dan Scott, and Sarah Anderson as they discuss what to do about students “caught in between” and why we should prioritize preteen ministry in our churches.

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What’s the difference between a preteen ministry and a middle school ministry? (10:30)

The preteen phase is when students realize there’s brokenness in the world. (12:30)

Middle school ministry is when students start to realize there is brokenness in them. (13:00)

Most children’s ministries are not built around questions. They’re built around statements. (14:00)

The bridge into middle school ministry is just as important as the bridge out of middle school ministry. (16:30)

Don’t let kids wait until adulthood to wrestle with tough questions. (20:00)

Preteens need a place where they can think critically about concepts that adults now take for granted. (20:00)

It’s not about your answer; it’s about their process. (20:45)

Create a unique environment for your preteens as soon as possible. (24:00)

Create milestone events and experiences that preteens get to be part of only in preteen ministry. (30:00)


Book: Caught In Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out by Dan Scott

Resource: 252 Kids Curriculum (FREE TRIAL)

Resource: About 252 Preteen (included in 252 Kids Curriculum)

Resource: XP3 Middle School and XP3 High School Curriculum (FREE TRIAL)


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Sarah is a writer and communicator who has been involved in ministry since 2003. In 2007, she joined the XP3 high school team where she now works as a lead writer and content creator. She also a contributing writer to the Parent Cue blog. Sarah lives in Roswell, Georgia, and is a big fan of her husband, her two boys, Asher and Pace, and, in her weaker moments, McDonald’s french fries.



Dan Scott is the Large Group Director for 252 Basics Group at Orange. He spends most of his time leading a creative team of talented writers that innovate our large group environments. Prior to coming on board at Orange, Dan served as the Elementary Children’s Director at Ada Bible Church. He enjoys traveling around the world coaching children’s ministry leaders and speaking to kids and students. He blogs about life and ministry at danscottblog.com. Dan and his wife Jenna live in Cumming, GA and have four amazing kids: Liam, Ellison, Addison, and Taye.



Ashley Bohinc serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange, is the co-host of The Think Orange Podcast, and co-authored The Art of Group Talk. She’s worked with students in public education, athletic, and ministry settings since 2005. Ashley is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating onstage, developing leaders, working with students, and engaging in world missions. Additionally, she’s the USA Director of Carry 117, a ministry in Ethiopia which focuses on orphan prevention and family preservation by empowering women. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.



Crystal currently leads the XP3 High School initiative at Orange. Before that, she spent 10 years as a high school teacher and student ministry leader, doing everything from leading small groups to speaking to curriculum design. Crystal and her husband, Tom, live in Alpharetta, GA with an ill-tempered chihuahua named Javier.

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Orange Conference 2018