Written by Neil Eckerlin
WyldLife Representative, Southwestern Division
In WyldLife, contact work and Campaigners can be two of the more challenging C’s in this ministry. Often, middle school kids don’t have a lot of freedom, which can make contact work difficult. Their attentions spans can be short, which combined with their high energy levels, can make Campaigners hard to envision and implement. There are many roadblocks we can come up with as it pertains to WyldLife contact work and Campaigners.
But what if we shifted our perspective and expectations? What if because of the unique nature and qualities of middle school kids, we combined both contact work and Campaigners into a single event? Campaigners with a contact work mentality…. a scheduled time for talking about Jesus that includes plenty of time for just being with kids.
What are the opportunities?
- Structure: A planned and scheduled event can help parents feel more comfortable allowing their kids to participate.
- Earning the right to be heard: In some cases you’re earning the right with parents as much as, if not more, than you are with kids. Have conversations with parents whenever you can!
- Tradition: Campaigners can be another rallying point and connection with kids that they remember and look forward to.
- More than club: Strong consistent Campaigners can help to create a contact point that goes beyond club and gives vision for the broader impact of the ministry.
- Flexibility: Campaigners doesn’t have to be long. Short and sweet can be very effective. If you do meet longer, make sure to have activities planned.
- Simplicity: Sometimes five minutes talking about Jesus is a win with a group of middle school kids. Embrace it!
- Relationship: Remember your Campaigners time is as much about the relationship as it is about talking about Jesus. For a middle school kid, you are telling them about Christ just by showing up!
- Use an ice breaker like Highlight and Lowlight of the week.
- Focus on a single theme or concept.
- Have them read the Bible! No short cuts (even if reading doesn’t come easy).
- Pick a short scripture.
- Be ready to define words. Even what you may think are the simplest ones. This will help them process and help them learn the main point of the lesson.
- If you plan on meeting for more than 20-30 minutes, have an activity or something active they can do to release energy.
- Many middle school kids love to participate in conversation, but they can get off-topic. Find ways to allow space for them to be who they are while still accomplishing the goals of Campaigners.
- Help kids go beyond the answers they think you want to hear.
- Use open ended questions that don’t allow kids to say, “Yes” or “No”.
WyldLife Campaigners can be a “contact work” event that kids look forward to and that you can use to deepen your relationships with them. Think about your middle school friends and what would best serve them. Who are they? What do they need? What do they like? Remember, simplicity can go a long way!