Your 9th graders need help. The beginning of the school year moves so fast. If you don’t provide them with a road map and tools to navigate this season, they will struggle. There are so many new things coming at them that they have a hard time filtering out what they should be doing. I’ve heard well-intentioned freshman and their parents say how important their faith is but also watched everything else crowd into their lives.
In the youth ministry world we’re pretty savvy. We recognize that the beginning of the 9th-grade year is a particularly important time to build relationships. We connect with students and we provide a lot of activities and events to facilitate meeting new people. But they need more resources and tools. There are just too many variables. What do we do with kids who can’t come to youth group because of sports? What about kids who don’t feel comfortable in a small group? How we reach all students with similar content has always been difficult.
As a youth pastor I welcome any sort of tools and resource that I can provide my students and their families that will allow them to stay on the same page and connect with others even when they are unable to attend the group. That’s the reason I wrote these devotionals. I wanted incoming 9th graders to have a similar foundation of knowledge and to all wrestle with the same questions.
Having a solid foundation of events, relationships, volunteer leaders, small groups, retreats, prayer, bible studies and more will give your incoming 9th graders the best chance to have an exceptional year.
Lars is the pastor of family ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Washington. He’s written a new series of devotionals for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.