Author: Kenny Conley

The Art of the Pre-Service Huddle

For years, one of my biggest frustrations was getting volunteers to show up on time. After talking to others, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. Honestly, getting anyone to show up for anything on time is a modern-day challenge. However, when services begin at 9:00 and volunteers are showing up minutes before (or even after), ministry leaders will literally lose their minds. However, I’ve found the solution to this little problem. The Pre-Service Huddle. Actually, the Pre-Service Huddle wasn’t created just to get your volunteers to show up on time, but timeliness with your volunteers is a welcome side effect....

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Recruiting Coaches

One of the most important components to a healthy and growing small group program is the coaching system. A small army of coaches to lead, inspire, train and equip small group leaders is simply essential. However, most churches don’t really have them. Most don’t know where to get them. Many don’t even know where to start. That’s okay, everyone starts somewhere. I was leading a large small group ministry for nearly seven years before I started installing coaches. Now I wouldn’t do ministry without them. Once I transitioned to MISSION, the first task I started working on was to...

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Your Biggest Limitation

There’s a dirty little secret to leading small groups for kids. It’s a weakness. A limitation. A barrier that your groups will experience in time. Even if you don’t see it, it’s always there. Others will definitely see it, they just might not say anything because they’re “polite.” Regardless, this issue will limit your success and growth. The sooner you deal with it, the better. Are you ready for this? Your biggest limitation to a ministry of healthy, thriving and life-giving small groups is… YOU! I get it. There’s always a “season.” You’re launching groups and it’s going to require...

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What About Preteens?

One of the greatest children’s ministry challenges is deciding what to do with preteens. 4th and 5th graders (or 5th and 6th graders depending on schools in your area) are losing interest in your church. They WANT to attend your student ministry, but they’re not old enough yet. They don’t want to be in your children’s ministry, it’s too juvenile. They’re far too mature for that. They’re “tweeners.” They don’t fit anywhere. They’re in between. Here’s the interesting thing about preteens. They’re still kids. They are really active. They love to jump around, giggle and act crazy. But they...

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Culture Shift

This week we talked all about building a healthy small group culture. We talked about this transition, which can actually take years. However, there are a few things you should know as you begin to build a new culture of your own. Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast It’s a funny saying, but an idea worth taking to heart. Peter Drucker coined the phrase, but Mark Fields, the president at Ford, made it famous. We have said a lot of things about creating small groups for kids. Practical things. Logistics. How-To Guides. Tips Strategy. All of this is necessary. But...

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When Small Groups are Central

Gina McClain unpacked a critical idea of building a healthy small group culture around the idea of “know your bullseye.” This post introduced the idea that organizations are better when one thing is central. Most churches and organizations have a hard time narrowing down to one thing. They have seven, or five or three. As noble as it is to say that your organization is about three things, there’s something that is lost in the process. When several things are most important, nothing is most important. When I first heard this idea, I was frustrated and confused. I heard...

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The Missing Pieces

Show me a healthy substitute list and I’ll show you a healthy small group ministry. The two go hand in hand. Here’s the scenario that plays out almost every week at churches everywhere. You cast a vision for a small group ministry and recruit amazing small group leaders. Okay, you have some amazing small group leaders, some good small group leaders and who are good when they show up. That’s a different blog post altogether. Regardless, you have small group leaders who don’t show up. Some get sick. Some are out of town. Some went to the lake and...

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How Small Groups Help Large Group

The move to the large group/small gorup model has been a challenge. This was a significant change. For the longest time, ministries would program 60-90 minutes of large group. This was no easy task as keeping a group of kids engaged for that long required creativity and skill. Over time, certain segments developed and became a part of the weekend experience. Adding small groups to the weekend experience was a huge change. This meant adding a new 30-40 minute element to the weekend experience that hadn’t ever been done on the weekend experience. This meant discarding 30-40 minutes of what...

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How Large Group Can Support Small Groups

In most children’s ministries, large group and small group tend to be at odds with each other. Sometimes there is conflict between these two pieces of the weekend experience. In order for a healthy small group ministry to develop and thrive, this conflict must be resolved. Large group and small groups are equally important. When they both exist, the allow something to happen that is better than if just one or the other happened. However, these two components of the weekend can more than just exist, they can also support each other. Below are several ways in which large group...

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Small Group Versus Large Group

There is a tension that exists in almost every children’s ministry, even if it isn’t felt by every volunteer. It’s a conflict between the Large Group program and Small Groups. When looking to build a healthy weekend-based small group ministry, you’re going to have to resolve this conflict. It occurs naturally, meaning it will develop unless you’re intentional at keeping it at bay. You’ll need to create an environment where Large Group and Small Group are collaborative and benefit each other’s primary goals. To understand how to resolve this conflict, it’s helpful to know why the conflict even exists,...

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