There are a lot of things that go into creating amazing Small Group experience. Everything from setup, environments, communication, supplies and everything in between. Honestly, logistics are a big part of creating dynamic group environments. I’ve learned a ton by seeing what others are doing, but quite frankly, I’ve had to figure a lot of things out on my own. Let’s not re-invent the wheel people. Here are some of the logistics to the group environments I’ve been refining over the past ten years. NOISE LEVEL IN SMALL GROUP ENVIRONMENTS For nearly 8 years at my church in Austin,...Read More
Author: Kenny Conley
Let’s be clear about one thing. Groups are super messy. If kids came every week, everything would be much more simple. But they don’t. And it’s not. So, you need systems to simplify. You need systems to clarify. You need systems to empower your Small Group Leaders to do what they do best. If you’re leading an integrated small group model, things could quickly get confusing for your leaders. You need to free up your leaders to lead. That’s your burden. I want to introduce you to several systems I have in place to simplify groups for our leaders....Read More
The challenge is real. I chuckle every time I talk to a ministry who is launching small groups. The challenge is the same. A 4th Grade Boys Small Group Leader is handed a clipboard. “Write down the names of all the kids who attend your group this week.” At the end of the service, he has 8 boy’s names. He comes back next week and he’s handed the same clipboard. This time his list of eight is typed out with boxes beside each name and blank spaces under those names. “Just check off the kids who are here today....Read More
If you use a large group/small group model on the weekend, you’ll face a dilemma. How do I group these kids? You may be able to divide all your kids into X number of groups, but next Sunday it is like a completely different set of kids showed up. 30-40% of the kids might be the same, but the rest weren’t there the week before. The following week – surprise! Even more kids show up who haven’t been there since you set up groups. Seriously, how do you really do this? There are two main ways you can do...Read More
Yesterday’s post gave five good reasons why you SHOULDN’T offer Small Groups. I’m sure it was confusing as you probably know by now that I LOVE small groups. I think you totally SHOULD offer Small Groups, but there are challenges associated with offering Small Groups. It’s important to know what you’re getting into. I tried to offer five compelling reasons to not do group. However, the very reasons to not offer groups are also reasons to do groups. Let’s take another look at the reasons: GROUPS ARE NOT A CONTROLLED EXPERIENCE Of course they’re not you control freak! Offering...Read More
Sure, a lot of churches offer small groups in their kidmin environments. Most curricula provide small group experiences. However, it’s important that you understand how groups will impact your ministry. It’s probably not exactly what you’re thinking. Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t offer Small Groups for kids: Groups are NOT a Controlled Experience Think about it. The adult service follows a detailed Planning Center Online document preparing for every moment. Announcements, songs, and the message have been rehearsed. Transitions are accounted for. It is a pretty controlled service. Why wouldn’t you want this for the children’s ministry environment?...Read More
It’s easy to make assumptions, but we’re not going to do that. It might seem obvious, but let’s just clarify for everyone’s sake. What exactly is a small group? What are its characteristics? These aren’t necessarily definitive, but for the sake of the conversation on this site, this is how we’re going to define a small group. A small group for kids is a group of 8-10 kids who meet EVERY WEEK What if there are only 4 kids? That’s still a small group. However, maybe you could combine with another group of 4 to help with the energy of the group....Read More
Ten years ago, I had a big problem in elementary ministry! It was something I had recognized for years, but I finally realized that I needed to do something about it. I had a volunteer problem. Don’t get me wrong, I had a handful of AMAZING volunteers who owned our ministry to elementary kids. These volunteers had been serving for 5+ years, some of them even longer. But outside of these five or six people, I had no one. We’d cycle through volunteers and getting people to stick was nearly impossible. I’d recruit some amazing people, but getting them to...Read More
Small Groups are pretty integrated into the ministry world today. Most curriculums include small group pieces. If you’re starting in kidmin today, you really don’t know anything different. However, I forget that there are literally thousands of children’s ministry leaders that don’t know a ministry world without small groups. Most of the staff I lead are under the age of 30. Sometimes I’ll be talking about an 80’s or 90’s pop culture reference and I’ll stop myself and ask, “do you know what I’m talking about?” They weren’t there, so I can’t assume that they know. The same is...Read More
I’m very passionate about small groups for kids. It’s probably become my number one ministry priority. Almost everything I do (almost every program or ministry initiative) points to the small group experience. For ten years, small groups have been my answer to ministry challenges. How do we help kids connect on the weekend? How do we recognize birthdays and special days for a kid on the weekend? How do we talk about money and collect the offering on the weekend? How do we unpack a salvation message and take steps toward baptism? How do we group kids at camp?...Read More
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