Don’t feel like reading?

Then listen to this post instead!

Or subscribe to my podcast for more audio versions of my blog posts!

How do you create weekly environments that engage middle schoolers from start to finish? In this breakout from The Orange Conference 2016, Sarah Bragg and I shared some principles and strategies for creating an incredible middle-school-friendly environment, and how XP3 Middle School Curriculum can help. (Plus we gave lots of fun inside peeks at our curriculum.)

XP3 MIDDLE SCHOOL FOR BEGINNERS

The Orange Conference 2016

If you want to engage middle schoolers, you’ve got to think about how every element of your weekly program is designed, from start to finish. Whether you use XP3 Middle School as your curriculum or not, go ahead and steal our strategy and principles.

WHAT IS XP3 MIDDLE SCHOOL ALL ABOUT?

XP3 Middle School (along with every curriculum from Orange) is based on what Jesus called “the Greatest Commandment”: “Love the Lord your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your NEIGHBOR as YOURSELF.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Here, we see Jesus mention 3 vital relationships: our relationships with God, with ourselves, and with others.

  • If you can help a middle schooler LOVE GOD, they’ll develop a DEEPER FAITH. We call this wonder.
  • If you can help a middle schooler LOVE THEMSELVES (who God created them to be and the life He has designed for them), they’ll make WISER CHOICES. We call this discovery.
  • If you can help a middle schooler LOVE OTHERS through community and service, they’ll develop STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS. We call this passion.

It’s our job to help kids of any age grow in all three of these “vital relationships.” Think of each one like a dial that you can turn up or down. You turn different dials up a little bit higher at different times in a kid’s life. In middle school, kids are wondering who they are, who likes them, and what makes them unique, so it’s a great time to emphasize discovery: how our identity, purpose, and affirmation can be found in Jesus.

THE 3 BASIC TRUTHS

Specific memorable phrases we want middle schoolers to know and never forget.

  1. I will love GOD because He will never stop loving me.
  2. I will follow Jesus because He knows ME better than I know myself.
  3. I will live out God’s story so OTHERS can know who Jesus is.

HOW DOES XP3 MIDDLE SCHOOL WORK?

XP3 Middle School is about more than just sermons. It’s about giving you everything you need to do ministry better. There are 7 basic segments, or “ingredients” to a great weekly program. If you want to engage middle schoolers, think about how you can make each of them a little more strategic. (And, by the way, XP3 Middle School provides you with resources for all 7, every week.)

THE 7 SEGMENTS

  1. PRELUDE: Setting the tone for the experience.
  2. SOCIAL: Providing time for fun interaction.
  3. TRANSITIONS: Moving smoothly from one thing to another.
  4. WORSHIP: Inviting people to respond to God.
  5. STORY: Communicating God’s truth in engaging ways.
  6. GROUPS: Creating a safe place to connect.
  7. HOME: Prompting action beyond the experience.

(For a full list of everything XP3 Middle School provides for each segment, including some sneak peeks and examples, check out my Keynote!)

WHY IS XP3 MIDDLE SCHOOL AWESOME?

Because we give you MORE TIME so you can focus on what only you can do: RELATIONSHIPS.

Oh and hey! If you’ve got questions about XP3 Middle School, tweet at me and at XP3! We’d love to answer your questions!