I’ll be honest. I’ve always hated “Promotion Sunday.”

I’ve always hated losing my 5th graders. By the time they’re ready to move on the 6th grade, I just love them too much to want to let go. I’ve invested so much into them. I’ve also hated promotion because inevitably, many of them won’t make the transition. Because the program is so different, some of the kids don’t adjust well to the difference. Sometimes it is even the parents who resist sending their kids to a program that is so different with teenagers that are so much older. So, many of these kids who don’t make the transition end up sneaking back into kids church for a few weeks or months. Eventually, many of them feel like they don’t fit and eventually stop coming. For many, it may be a year or two before they end up showing up in Student Ministry. Some never do.

That is why I hate Promotion Sunday.

However, this time I’m really excited. Well, since I don’t really know any of the kids yet at Gateway, I’m not attached to those 5th graders. But that’s not why I’m excited. I’m excited because for the first time I feel like a strong plan is being put into place to capture “most” of our 5th graders. Our student pastor will be offering middle school programs during all of our weekend services. The Middle School service isn’t going to be so totally different that the 5th graders can’t relate. So, for the 5th grader to make the transition, he/she simply has to walk down the hall to another room. That’s it.

Chad, the student pastor and I have been talking about how if we can make this transition successful, his Middle School program could triple. In addition, if we continue to create tight hand-offs every year, his entire student ministry could be 3 or 4 times larger in just a few year just by kids growing up in the programs. What’s not exciting about that? I’ll continue to post about how this transition is going. We’re planning several “preview events” throughout the summer to make those 5th graders beg for promotion day!!!