As a middle school pastor who manages a number of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students each week, I know that our list of rules grows by the week. If you want to see if you have any holes in your policies, just place some middle school students in the middle of your experiment and they take care of things pretty quickly!

Boiling things down to a few simple rules is important for adherence. One word we’ve kept coming back to year after year is: respect. It’s one of those categories that addresses almost everything you need to in order to manage middle school students (and I imagine, other groups of people as well) and keep them safe (even from themselves).

Terry Goodwin @ has a great post on this very topic. He boils the process down to 5 easily applicable steps:

  1. Set clear expectations for your students
  2. Repeat your expectations
  3. Follow through with love
  4. Be consistent
  5. Make disciples

Setting and managing expectations and behavior with middle school students is far from easy, and they will always throw curve balls your way (no matter how seasoned and experienced one is). However, making the complex rules more simple will really help the crowd adhere to the expectations you set.

HT Junior High Ministry


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