A few days I got an email from a friend in TN asking me some questions about how and when we promote. I’m really glad he asked because it reminded me of some questions I wanted to revisit and some frustrations I’ve run into for the past two years. He wanted to know what other churches do, so I figured I’d ask all of you. First, let me explain what we do here at Gateway, why we do it this way and what I’ve been frustrated about.

For the past two summers, we promoted in August, the week kids start their new classes in school. Actually, I’ve promoted the week school started every year I’ve been in ministry except for one I think. I’ve always preferred promoting at the end of the summer for several reasons:

  • It gives those Kindergarteners promoting into 1st grade an extra 2-3 months to mature and get ready for the older environment.
  • It allows our 5th graders one more summer to participate in Kids Camp as Middle School Camp might be too much for them and if they haven’t promoted yet, there won’t be any confusion on what camp to attend (If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s probably my desire to hang on to the 5th graders just a little bit longer).
  • Promotion Sunday is always a highly attended Sunday as families are all back in town, so it’s easy to communicate their promotion since most everyone is there. At the end of the school year, attendance is down and it’s harder to create the same buzz.

Those are my reason for doing it when I do. However I have one reason against and it really frustrates me like crazy!

When a kid finishes the 4th grade, the last day of school in his eyes, he considers himself a 5th grader. I remember being this way as well when I was a kid. So in their minds, they’ve already promoted, but at church they’re being held back. It’s confusing as we have to put up signs telling parents that they’re still in the same grade groups and classes as last year and not to promote because if they do, then once we do a system wide promotion, all the kids will bump up to grades they aren’t supposed to be in.

Bottom line, we’re fighting everyone and in reality, it seems to create more confusion. Personally, I feel that if you have to put up a sign explaining something that isn’t exactly natural, maybe you’re going about it the wrong way.

So, what do you do and why? What are your thoughts about my situation? I’d appreciate your feedback greatly!