Best Practices - Splitting Up Your Jr. Highs & Sr. Highs

For years we dreamt of splitting our Jr. High and Sr. High ministries. I’m convinced that if you can do it, you should do it. There’s plenty of conversations that have taken place online about this (see here, herehere and listen here for starters). I’m super aware that there are some who passionately argue that there is too much age/stage segregation in church ministries as it is and this is an unnecessary division. The bottom line for myself is that there is too huge of a developmental difference between a prepubescent 12-year-old boy and an off to College 18-year-old girl. The age gap isn’t much, but the development gap is pronounced.

I’m also aware that there is not one right way to do ministry to teens. Each situation is unique and your cues should be taken from your environment and prayer (not from a guy on the internet). However in most cases, I would argue it is beneficial for both Jr. & Sr. High students to split.

If you’re still reading, I’m assuming you either have already made this shift or you’re dreaming about it but not sure where to start. Here’s three of the best practices for splitting your Jr. High & Sr. High students:

1. KEEP JR.’S & SR.’S ON THE SAME NIGHT.

If space allows for it, do ministry to your Jr.’s and Sr.’s on the same night. This is a huge win for:

  • parents (less driving)
  • janitors (only have to clean up after you once)
  • you (one less night out in the week!)
  • family (remember, you’re out one less night a week!)

2. WORSHIP TOGETHER, TEACH APART.

I’d suggest bringing the whole crew together for your worship time and splitting for your teaching time. This is beneficial because:

  • You only have to manage one worship team for the night
  • You only have to care for one a/v system
  • It can be a lot of fun having everyone together. There’s a great energy in the room!

3. USE CURRICULUM TO SYNC TEACHING SPACES.

One of the biggest hurdles in splitting Jr. & Sr. High is developing a 2nd teaching circuit. Sometimes it can be hard enough just keeping up with one! If you’re just starting out, consider using high quality curriculum to help sync the big ideas being taught in both spaces. This is huge because:

  • You don’t have to create to different sets of promo material
  • The information being sent to your parents can be identical and follow up is simplified as well
  • It will cut down on your message prep time (splitting the two groups requires more brain and man power each week, you gotta find more time somewhere!)
  • It can make teaching less daunting for new speakers

I LOVE XP3 from Orange to guide both spaces. The quality is unbeatable.

So there you have it. Those are 3 things to keep on your radar when splitting your Jr. High & Sr. High spaces. Have you done it? What would you add?