The tweenage years are roughly between 10 and 14 years of age, a time of enormous physical and emotional/psychological growth and change. This time of transition has the potential to trigger confusion and stress, as the young person begins to move from childhood towards the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood. The tweenager is moving from concrete reasoning to developing the ability to think about abstract concepts. They are beginning to fit their knowledge into the framework of their emerging worldview, and reconciling apparently conflicting information (e.g. the love of God c.f. God punishes the sinner).

Therefore the tweenager is beginning to move away from owning the faith of their family to internalising their own beliefs. It is a time when adult role models and mentors apart from their parents can be powerful in affirming and shaping the faith of the child. Nevertheless, parents are still the primary figures in the child’s life. They need and deserve far more support than they receive in many churches. We need to seriously consider the partnership between parents and children’s and youth ministries.

Tweenagers need more than ever to know that they have a place in the worshipping community. They need to be allowed to ask questions about God, life and faith and have their questions taken seriously and answered thoughtfully and carefully. Tweenagers need to be given opportunity to contribute to the life of the worshipping community. They need to see others express the realities of God in their lives in worship, service and submission to the Lordship of Jesus, and to see the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of others. Quality of relationships within the worshipping community is a key factor in the continuing engagement of the young teen with that community.

Children’s and youth ministry should not be separated from the wider life and mission of the church. Children need to be engaged into the worshipping community not separated from the activity of intergenerational worship. The culture of the worshipping community will be enriched by the inclusion of all generations.

Evangelism – if people are most likely to come to faith by age 14, think carefully about the implications for mission to children outside the church. A model of evangelism of children and teenagers that does not take families seriously is badly flawed and ignores the context in which the child’s beliefs are formed.

 

 Content Editor