A way to begin to understand some of the realities of this period in the human lifecycle (which is a fairly new and Western concept in modern history), is to view adolescence in terms of four stages of development: Pre-Adolescence – Ages 10-12 aka Tweens; Early Adolescence – Ages 12-14; Middle Adolescence – Ages 15-17; and Late Adolescence – Ages 18-19.
Youth have different needs that children in a Christian education setting. Resources that allow their personal exploration that are mixed with fun, opportunities to question, and social in nature are important. Peer to peer interaction in a safe environment with caring, supportive and reliable adult mentors are the keys to successful youth ministry.
Check out my chart of resources that can be used in youth Christian formation. This is just a starting point – there are many excellent programs available, but beware those who preach to young people and don’t allow them to grapple with the issues and form their own beliefs on their own terms. Getting them involved (and respected) in the faith community is important. Above all, youth ministry is ground in relationships.