In this episode, I get to talk to Gabe Reed and Amanda Veenstra, the middle school pastors at Napanee Missionary Church in Napanee, Indiana.

We talked about the positive aspects of working with Middle School students because, let's face it, most of the time we don't hear about that part! It was a great conversation and you should totally hit them up. They're doing a great job out there!

We talked about:

  • Our own middle school experiences
  • Recruiting MS Volunteers
  • How to talk about MS ministry in a positive way!

Gabe's twitter: @gabriel.s.reed 

Amanda's twitter: @amandarae_veenstra

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

Want to see my resources? Click here.

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In this episode, I don't talk much. That's because I'm listening to Middle School Ministry Guru Mark Oestreicher (MarkO) talk about how he goes about trying to understand the kid in front of us. The squirrelly middle school student who shouts out during prayer time or

You got this.

We take a look at:

  • Middle School students and abstract thought
  • Helping Middle School students "flex" their abstract thinking muscle
  • A great book to read: How God Changes Your Brain
  • Taking ministering to Middle School students seriously (but maybe not yourself so much)

Check out Mark O's day job: The Youth Cartel

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

Want to see my resources? Click here.

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In this episode, I talk about how I teach middle school students in a large group setting. Large doesn't have to mean hundreds, but just more than allows for a typical small group discussion. It doesn't have to resemble a nuclear blast, but it also probably won't look like coffee at Starbucks and a John Piper book discussion. 

You got this.

I talk about:

  • Thinking shorter
  • Setting up your teaching into 5 minute "blocks"
  • How to teach interactively
  • Planning out concrete application

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

Want to see my resources? Click here.

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In this episode, I talk about leading a middle school small group! It's a crazy thing, but it can also be really great! A key point is to know your audience. You aren't dealing with seminary students. You've got squirrelly 11-14 year-olds. Here are my big tips:

I talk about:

  • Acknowledging the weird and the silliness of your time!
  • Setting up expectations for the amount of "in-depth" Bible study you'll get
  • Asking questions that get students talking
  • Some tips for playing games during small group!
  • Ending with concrete, actionable application

 

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

Want to see my resources? Click here.

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In this episode, I talk about having a conversation with middle school students. At first, it was something I avoided because I didn't think I was having any type of impact discussing Minecraft with 12 years olds. Now I focus in on those conversations because I know I'm showing these students I love and care about them!

I talk about:

  • Listening to the normal, everyday stuff
  • Using your body to show you're paying attention
  • Expecting the silly stuff (and what to do with it)
  • Celebrating when MS students share successes
  • Counseling them when they open up about struggles

Resources:

Get Your Teenager Talking

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

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In this episode, I continue my conversation with Mark Eades, Middle School Pastor at New Covenant Bible Church. In this one, we talk about the odd compliment of having a middle school student tell you they're bored! We talk about:

  • It's not wrong for students to be bored
  • "I'm bored" is usually code for something different
  • During retreats, plan for extra downtime and space
  • The spiritual discipline of silence

Resources:

The Power of Boredom in a Culture of Distractions

How Boredom can lead to our most brilliant ideas

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

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Today I got to spend some time talking to Middle School Ministry veteran, Mark Eades, Middle School Pastor at New Covenant Bible Church, about having and loving chaos in your middle school ministry program!

We talk about:

  • Being okay with chaos when you're teaching
  • Recognizing when those chaos moments are coming
  • Intentionally planning moments of chaos into your talk
  • Coaching volunteers to recognize the chaos

Resources:

Controlled Chaos by Kurt Johnston

A DYM Podcast live from DYM100, the best conference around!

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

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Planning trips, retreats, and camps can be a big pain. But you can also do yourself and your middle school students a disservice if you don't schedule out intentionally.

In this episode, I talk about why we plan our retreats/trips/mission trips the way that we do in order to help out parents and middle school students!

  • Thinking about your students' first overnight with your ministry
  • Helping parents learn to trust you with their students
  • Scheduling overnights so that everyone can grow and learn together

Resources:

MFUGE mission trips

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

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If you have students, you have parents in your ministry too! Scheduling another meeting may not sound like a great idea, but if you do it right, a parent meeting can be incredibly helpful for your ministry!

I talk about:

  • Making parent meetings irresistible!
  • Throwing resources at parents
  • What to include in your parent meetings
  • Thinking about first-time parents
  • Making multiple parent meetings slightly different with appropriate focuses

Resources:

Download Youth Ministry Parent Newsletter App

This is a great resource for making newsletters to send to parents, volunteers, etc. Check it out!

 

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

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In this episode, I talk about how you can champion middle school students serving in areas that don't have anything to do with the youth ministry! That's a scary idea for everyone else on staff, but you know they can do it!

Right?

I talk about:

  • Championing middle school students serving
  • Convincing leadership to fill volunteer roles with MS Students
  • Using MS Students to supplement current volunteers
  • Training every volunteer, even your MS Students in the same way for the same role
  • Thinking about how to use volunteer applications and job descriptions to make sure everyone wins
  • Changing your church's culture to include MS Students volunteering!

Resources:

Planning Center | Love your church management software

Our Techincal Volunteer page on our church website featuring MS Students!

Got a middle school ministry question?

Email talkingsquirrelspodcast@gmail.com

Need student ministry resources?

Check out www.downloadyouthministry.com

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