Middle School Boys and Church


We don’t make it easy for middle school boys to make it through a church service. How can we expect squirmy adolescent boys to grow closer to God if we don’t consider what church must seem like to them?

For instance, I remember hearing a pastor speak the following prayer in front of his congregation (… and put yourself in a middle-schooler’s mind-frame when you read this):

“Lord, help those of us who have body parts that have stopped working because of old age or lack of use.”

Now come on! That’s not even fair! I’m 43 years-old and I can’t help but to giggle at that prayer.

When it comes to reaching and equipping the next generation in our churches, perhaps we need to imagine/remember what it is like to be 13 years-old again. Perhaps we could ask questions to filter what we do and how we do it. Try these with a team of leaders in church sometime:

  • How does a 13-year old boy think?
  • What does a 13-year old boy value?
  • What kind of an environment does a 13-year boy need in order to feel at home?
  • Who does a 13-year old boy trust?
  • What deep life concerns is a 13-year old boy wrestling with?
  • What stories of the Bible could easily come to life for a 13-year old boy?
  • What does a 13-year old boy need to know on Sunday that will help him on Monday?
  • What affirmation does a 13-year old boy need each week?
  • What about Jesus would astonish a 13-year old boy?
  • What is a 13-year old boy who follows Jesus capable of doing?
Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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