Keys to Successful Transitions between Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry: Avoid Pigeonholing

Keys to Successful Transitions between Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry: Avoid Pigeonholing
Ability Ministry Summer 2018 Series: Part 2 of 7

To create successful transitions and environments for teens as they age out of children’s ministry there are several things to consider.

One key thing to avoid is “mental age” pigeonholing. Pigeonholing is a curious word. Consider how it has come a part of our language. Pigeons in medieval times were kept as domestic birds. They were kept primarily for their meat. Their holes where they nested were small openings or recesses in a wall. In the late 1700s companies used very similar looking small cubbies in the recesses of walls and called them “pigeon holes.” They used these small compartments to sort and classify documents. Now consider the slang “being pigeonholed.” Being pigeonholed means that you are classified and unfairly stuck in a certain category.

Have you ever heard a parent or volunteer say something like this:

He may be 18 years old, but mentally he is only about 6 years old.

This is a dangerous mentality, because it compartmentalizes a person based upon only one aspect of who they are. This mentality ignores all the other aspects of a person’s being including but not limited to the emotional, physical, spiritual, etc. Churches should never hold back a teen and forever keep them in first grade for example, because they have been pigeonholed as having only the mentality of someone who is 6 years old. You must always consider the whole person. Teens should be kept together based upon their chronological ages because this benefits the whole person and all those around. Pigeonholing should always be avoided.

So, the first step in successful transitioning is to make sure teens age out of children’s ministry.

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Ryan Wolfe

It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan, Director of Program Development, comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.

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