How to Let Go of the Bike

How to Let Go no title

Before FourFiveSix had a name…we had “The Bike“.

In 2007, Patrick Snow invited a group of preteen ministry leaders from across the country to discuss this question: “Why preteen ministry?” We met in Heather Dunn’s cabin in the Colorado Mountains, and spent several days getting to know each other, having miniature boat races, finding shark tooth shaped rocked, and discussing the validity of preteen ministry.

What came out of this first retreat was “The Bike“. This concept has guided everything we’ve done since. People from all over the world have shared this article with parents, with volunteers, and with their senior pastors. It gives a framework for understanding the need for preteen ministry.

So the answer to “Why preteen ministry?” is found in “Letting Go of the Bike…and Running Beside”.

But now there was another question to answer: “How do we let go of the Bike?”

That’s what we’ve been exploring since 2007. And from those years of experimenting come these six answers:

  1. Give choices
  2. Give power
  3. Ask questions
  4. Listen to their questions
  5. Make space for mistakes and unexpected happenings
  6. Be prepared to confront doubt and misconceptions

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope you find that it’s a good start.

(As an example of an activity that’s all about “Letting Go of the Bike”, see “Lord of the Flies”.)

Below, you’ll see six short podcast episodes, each exploring one of those 6 ideas.  You might use these podcasts for:

  • Training. Use these podcasts as training material for your volunteers, especially your preteen small group leaders.
  • Planning. Listen for yourself as you are planning your next season in preteen ministry.
  • Connecting. Find another ministry leader on The Map who is nearby, and get together once a month for 6 months, listening to one podcast each month and discussing it.
  • Refining. After listening to each podcast, think of how you could infuse the concept presented in this coming weekend’s preteen ministry service.

However you use these podcasts, we pray that they help to raise the value of your ministry to preteens!  May grace and peace be with you as you find new ways of letting go…and running beside.