The Sunday where kids promote to the next grade is a BIG deal. Of course it is. Isn’t that obvious? Why would I even make such a statement?

Because every year I see too many churches that botch this critical transition.


Think about how significant this is. For many kids, we have invested years and years into them. Through events, small groups, camps and activities – they’re finally ready to move to what’s next. Maybe we underestimate how nervous they are about the change. Maybe we fail to clarify what’s at stake for their parents. Maybe we don’t clearly communicate to the child what stays the same in their new environment. For whatever reason, a poorly handled transition could be the end of that child’s involvement in your church (or any church for that matter).

No, I’m not being dramatic. It happens every year. A transition from one ministry to the next is challenging and the stakes are high.

What leads to so many mishandled transitions?

  • A lack of planning: Ministry is busy (especially around the summer). Between camps, VBS, and volunteer recruitment – promoting kids can get lost in the shuffle.
  • A lack of collaboration: Ministries are often divided. There can be a lack of collaboration between the preschool director and the elementary director. The culture in elementary can be radically different from the culture in middle school. This makes transitions even more challenging.
  • A lack of strategy: There are many pieces involved in a successful transition. Helping kids get excited about the change is critical. Involving parents in the transition process is huge. Helping volunteers understand their role adds significant value.

This week we’re going to take a deep dive into Promotion Sunday. Hopefully a focus on what matters will make this critical moment for our ministries far more successful!