There are three drives that are hardwired in every kid:
If you think about those drives as dials you turn to help a kid connect with God, then what if you turn those dials to different volumes for different phases? It’s just like finding the right mix for a love song.
- Wonder is like the melody.
- Discovery is the harmony.
- Passion is the rhythm.
When you get the mix just right, something magical happens; and the song connects with the heart of the listener.
Turning the Dials for Middle Schoolers
Knowing what you now know about the phases, which dial do you think you should turn up the loudest for a middle schooler?
You will turn all three dials at every phase, but the volumes may change in order to create the right mix. Tweens who think like engineers need to know that God can rebuild a story—even when things haven’t gone according to the plan.
They relate to a God who overcomes impossible odds to rebuild what is broken, bring stability, restore peace, resolve doubt, give hope, and redeem everyone. When you affirm their personal journey, you help a middle schooler own their own faith and value a faith community.
The way God proved His love to humanity through time is similar to the way a child grows up and relates to God throughout the phases. It’s as if there is a pattern for spiritual growth working throughout the events of history the same way it works throughout our lives.
Your goal is to show up in the lives of kids and teenagers, over time, to love them and help them mature in their ability to relate to God at every phase. The best way to help a kid mature in their relationship with God at every phase is to help them relate to God in their present phase.
3 Ways to Help Middle Schoolers Mature in Their Relationship with God
1. Connect the dots.
An engineer may have to connect physics and design in order to solve a problem. In the same way, this is the phase when a kid begins connecting the information they learned in childhood to see how it works together.
That means this is the very best phase to connect the overarching narrative of Scripture. There is incredible potential to re-engage their sense of wonder about the Bible when their eyes are open to the masterful way the story connects not only from Genesis to Revelation, but with their own lives as well.
2. Expect a crisis.
When engineers try to solve complex problems in creative ways, a few crisis moments are inevitable. Some middle school crises may seem less complex—like when they’re selected to go onstage for “Duct Tape Round-Up.”
They may also begin to discover they believe a lot of things that don’t easily fit together. They may ask how an all-powerful God allows bad things to happen. You won’t know all the answers, so don’t act like you do. Just affirm what you do know. Help them anchor their faith to what is constant.
3. Be consistent.
Speaking of constant, you may never have a phase where predictability matters more. Practice making regular promises and following through in simple ways to prove you can be trusted. It may seem like they are testing you. They are. Absolutely nothing you say will matter for a middle schooler unless you say it with the credibility you earn simply by showing up in their world to prove you care.
When it comes to leading the next generation, spiritual growth means helping kids mature in their ability to relate to God. In order to grow up and know God at every phase, kids need adults to help them rediscover how to relate to God in every phase.
You create a unique mix of wonder, discovery, and passion for each phase. Remember that every kid will always need all three—just maybe at different volumes.
This content was contributed by Phase. Discover all the resources available for your middle schooler in the Phase store.