Bridging the Gap: Transitioning from GA, RA, and CA to Student Ministry

Change can be hard. It can be especially hard on a child. When the time comes for your GAs, RAs, or CAs to move up and move out, how can you help them with this transition? Here are three simple steps that might help.

Communication Is Key
Open lines of communication between children, parents, and student ministers are essential to a successful transition. Have conversations with your GAs, RAs, or CAs about what they will experience in their new environments. Keep parents informed about any potential events or recognition services that will help bridge the gap between children and student programs. Talk to the student leader(s) in your church. Plan a joint event that will provide the upcoming students with a positive and uplifting experience.

Continuity Offers Clarity
If your church has a healthy Acteens, Challengers, or Youth on Mission program, you've got it made! The curriculum used in these student groups is purposefully coordinated with GA, RA, and CA materials to support a seamless transition. Newcomers to a student program will learn about the same missionaries, likely focus on the same passages of Scripture, and follow a similar yearly schedule. The real difference comes from the way the material is communicated to students. If your church does not invest in the student programs like the ones listed above, don't worry! There are plenty of ways your missions-minded children can connect what they've learned in GA, RA, or CA with their new student groups. Again, this is a perfect occasion for you and your student minister(s) to do a little collaboration!

Discipleship Is Ongoing
Even though your children are growing up and out of GA, RA, and CA, that doesn't mean your relationship with them has to end. Mentorship and discipleship is a lifelong endeavor. You're committed for the long haul! As children grow, it's important to see continuity along the way. Leaders who invest in children should continue to take an interest in their growth and development at each new stage of the journey. This continued contact encourages future students to remember the things they learned as children—not only to remember, but also to reevaluate and apply to their lives in a new way.

The transition between children's ministry and student ministry is a formative time for young minds. Don't pass up the opportunity to make a positive impact for years to come!


Zachariah Seanor is the national consultant for Royal Ambassadors, Challengers, and Youth on Mission; husband to an amazing wife; and lover of the great outdoors. When he's not in the office writing blogs, he enjoys warm fires, cool summer nights, and long walks with his border collie, Nellie.


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