"Don't leave me! You're gonna be sad you're not in Kids Ministry anymore. You're gonna miss me so much you will hate Student Ministry. You're gonna want to be back here!" These are the words I once heard a Kidmin Leader tell the 5th graders who were promoting. I don't think he realized just how insecure this made him look. It was all about him, not the kids.
We all go through it: the bittersweet moment called "Promotion Day." All of the children you have poured your heart and soul into are now too old for Kids Ministry. It is time for them to move on. Promotion Day is a bittersweet moment for most Kidmin Leaders. It is difficult to say, "Goodbye" to the children we love. I have seen some Kids Pastors and leaders handle Promotion Day pretty poorly. They turn it into a "cry fest" and begin to mourn the loss of those who are "moving up", and the entire process becomes a sad event.
Instead, we need to make the transition from Elementary Ministry into Student Ministry a positive and exciting experience for our kids. This past Sunday, we said, "Goodbye" to 85+ 5th graders that were promoting. We sent them out like missionaries to the mission field of Middle School. We brought them to the front, lay hands on them, and prayed a commissioning prayer over them.
I told each of them, "I can't wait to hear what incredible things you will do for God in Student Ministry! Don't wait until you are one of the oldest in the group to be an example. Instead, from day one, be a leader in worship, prayer, energy, and passion for God!" It was an incredible experience!
How about you? How do you handle the "last service" for your graduating kids? Is it a sad experience? Or is it an incredible, moving experience that launches kids into Student Ministry? Share your thoughts in the comments section.