I was a middle school pastor for the first 11 years of my full-time ministry life. I loved it! So many people are "scared" of this age group, but I loved spending time with them. The students were still young enough that they looked up to you and needed you, but they were old enough to talk with and process what they were hearing and learning.
My favorite Sunday of every year was when the new sixth-grade students would come to our ministry programming for the first time. They were so small! They weren't sure what was happening but had excitement in their eyes as they had graduated from kids ministry to youth ministry.
My other favorite part as a middle school pastor was spending time at a summer camp with the students who had just finished eighth grade. Wow, they had grown and matured! It was fun to think back to what it was like when they first arrived and then to see how much they had progressed over a three-year span.
Middle school students go through a drastic change during these years. They will encounter a level of change (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) unlike any other time in their life (other than the time from birth to six months).
Dan Istvanik has compiled a list of ten transitions that middle school students go through during these years. They are important to note and should be considered as we raise and disciple them.
"The middle years (5th - 9th grades, ages 10 - 14) is a huge time of life transition. It might even be one of the most significant times in a person's life! Do you know and understand that transition that is happening in the lives of these students?" - Dan Istvanik
"Middle Years" Life Transitions: Understanding 5th-9th Graders by Dan Istvanik