I get asked a lot of questions about family ministry. The only question that ever gets on my nerves is when someone asks,
“Do you guys break up into small groups at the end?”
Now, I get it.
It seems like a fair and harmless question. Maybe you’ve even asked it yourself.
I know that there are semantics involved here, but the honest answer is, “No. We want our children and students to experience our entire Sunday program as a small group—not just at the end.”
There might be a time at the end when small groups are given a dedicated space and time to discuss and unpack the Biblical truth that was presented in large group, but that certainly shouldn’t be the only time of the day that children and students experience small group. Small group connections can permeate everything that you do with the children and students in your ministry.
Here’s how to prioritize relationships in every part of ministry.
. . . or Wednesday nights, or Sunday evenings. Whenever you meet, it’s essential to provide children and students with consistent weekly small group leaders. If you say small group relationships are a priority, this is how you act like it.
I grew up in a church where everyone was on a rotation, so consistency was not the norm. I’m so glad that our church now has a different culture. When my oldest kid was three, he wouldn’t even say that we were going to church. Instead, he would say, “We’re going to see Mr. Tyler!” For him, church was small group and relationships, and that’s the kind of culture that we want to create. This kind of small group culture should play itself out every Sunday morning as well as those random events that are sprinkled throughout your calendar. (But we’ll get to those later.)
Sunday morning should be synonymous with small group and relationships—not merely activities, singing, or teaching.
Okay, let’s get on the same page here. When we say events, we’re talking about anything outside of your regularly scheduled programming: Group Outings, Theme Days, Baptism Celebrations and Camps
For kids, a group outing might be a ministry-wide bowling trip or a special game night. For students, it might look more like hanging out at Starbucks, going to play paintball together, or even going white water rafting.
Don’t let yourself get paralyzed by thinking that they have to plan something huge for it to be a good outing.
Yes, even preschoolers have service projects. For the littlest ones, maybe they’re bringing in pennies or learning how to help the people who live in their home. For elementary kids, it might be a canned food drive, a backpack drive, or a special Christmas project like Operation Christmas Child. For students, these look like mission trips, regular serving opportunities within the church, or maybe even monthly or quarterly trips to your local homeless shelter. However you decide to help teach kids how to “be the church,” there’s a great way to use your small group model as a support and launching pad to make these projects win!
Whatever your context or church size, it’s easy to make small groups strategic and intentional throughout your ministry. And whatever your context or church size, it’s so important that you do.
Small groups are where connections happen. Small groups are where the magic happens. So if you want those connections—the kinds of connections that move a group of young people from hearing to doing—we encourage you to take the time to make small groups the priority in your ministry. It will change the direction of your ministry and impact the future for the kids and students you serve.
Bonus Tip: Weekly provides you with the resources to help you better connect with SGLs and parents through social media and email. This means less time at the computer and more time prioritizing relationships. Learn more and sign up for your free trial now.