How Do You Say “Goodbye” To Your Ministry Kids?

Pray-For-5th-Graders

“Don’t leave me!  You’re gonna be sad you’re not in Kids Ministry anymore.  You’re gonna miss me so much you will hate Student Ministry.  You’re gonna want to be back here!”  These are the words I once heard a Kidmin Leader tell the 5th graders who were promoting.  I don’t think he realized just how insecure this made him look.  It was all about him, not the kids.

We all go through it:   the bittersweet moment called “Promotion Day.”  All of the children you have poured your heart and soul into are now too old for Kids Ministry.  It is time for them to move on.  Promotion Day is a bittersweet moment for most Kidmin Leaders.  It is difficult to say, “Goodbye” to the children we love.  I have seen some Kids Pastors and leaders handle Promotion Day pretty poorly.  They turn it into a “cry fest” and begin to mourn the loss of those who are “moving up”, and the entire process becomes a sad event.

Instead, we need to make the transition from Elementary Ministry into Student Ministry a positive and exciting experience for our kids.  This past Sunday, we said, “Goodbye” to 85+ 5th graders that were promoting.  We sent them out like missionaries to the mission field of Middle School.  We brought them to the front, lay hands on them, and prayed a commissioning prayer over them.

I told each of them, “I can’t wait to hear what incredible things you will do for God in Student Ministry!  Don’t wait until you are one of the oldest in the group to be an example.  Instead, from day one, be a leader in worship, prayer, energy, and passion for God!”  It was an incredible experience!

How about you?  How do you handle the “last service” for your graduating kids?  Is it a sad experience?  Or is it an incredible, moving experience that launches kids into Student Ministry?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “How Do You Say “Goodbye” To Your Ministry Kids?

  1. At our church (The Brooklyn Tabernacle), we – BT Kids! – have three graduation days a year. We coordinate with the Youth Ministry and have representatives from BTYM attend the graduation. We call them up, ask them some of their most memorable moments/lessons/worship songs, etc. We charge them from God’s word, and then we invite the BTYM leadership to join us as we pray for them.
    The BTYM leadership then plans a “First Friday” for the new graduates. They cater that meeting to getting the new youth better acquainted with the other youth and the rest of the leaders.

  2. Our entire CM is designed for them to eventually leave much like raising your own kids. If our kids were going to be with us forever then why teach them how to make good decisions or train them how to cook…but they will not always be there for you to do that for them! That is how it should be! We give our Tweens a taste of youth ministry by having our youth pastor visit our class, we train them how to be greeters, ushers, and praise leaders. Our CM & youth teams work together as a team understanding each one has unique opportunities to reach the kids/Tweens/teens they have. Our goal is to send them to the next step well prepared for what lies ahead!

  3. We have 3 ways we prepare them for Middle School. On the last night of Clubs they spend some time with the 6th graders during gym time. Just getting to know some of them and the leaders. On the Friday before their last Sunday, we have what we call a ‘Movin’ Up Party’. It’s for them and their parents, so they can meet leaders, hear from the Middle School Pastor, play games, and EAT! I also show some funny stats about their time in the ministry (like how many fishy crackers they ate, or how many times they asked to go to the bathroom). On their last Sunday in Kids Ministry, we have both them and their small group leaders join the 6th-8th grade for worship time in our Student Center.

  4. Every year just before promotions we take our 6th Graders on our “Last Bash” trip to Branson. We pay for everything including a day at Silver Dollar City. We talk to each of them about their future and encourage them to keep following God as they move to youth. We always have our youth pastors join us. The goal of this trip is for the kids to have one “Last Bash” with us but more importantly to be with them as they experience their “First Bash” with the youth pastors. The End of this trip is probably the hardest part of being a children’s pastor as I hand them over to the youth pastor. It is hard to let your kids grow up.