How Small Groups Work in Preschool

If you are not already using weekly volunteers in preschool, I hope my last post convinced you to make it your top priority. Today, I want to show you how we do small groups in preschool. Yes, it’s different from elementary school or student ministry, but it actually works for preschoolers, toddlers, and babies. There are many different ways to approach forming small groups in your preschool environments at church and degrees to which you can logistically make this happen. At my church, we have opted to “major” on the relational connection with leaders and “minor” on the logistical connection created...

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Why Weekly Volunteers in Preschool Matter

Recruiting weekly volunteers does not come naturally. Think about it for a second. When churches get started, they usually only offer one service. Asking a volunteer to serve every week means that they don’t get to attend church. Asking volunteers to serve once or twice a month is a pretty realistic ask. Churches grow and they add more services. Interestingly, many ministry leaders don’t grow their serving commitment. They lead ministries with 2-3 services, yet only ask volunteers to serve once or twice monthly. Many leaders do make the shift and they begin to transition volunteers to weekly commitment....

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Weekly Small Groups in Preschool

Sometimes people ask me what I do for my job. Me: I oversee the children’s ministries at our church. Them: Oh so you are in charge of the nursery? Me: 😐 This question has always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it is just me, but when I think of the “nursery,” it has nothing to do with what I do for a living. When I think of the nursery, I think of: A few very old ladies who were paid by the church to keep a handful of children alive for hours on a rotational basis every Sunday morning, Sunday...

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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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Group Culture: Defining the Win

Building the healthy small group culture we have today wasn’t rocket science, but it wasn’t completely obvious either. I’d like to say that we knew exactly what we were doing every step of the way, but that wouldn’t exactly be true. Things would happen that we didn’t expect and we would adjust the process. More often than not, our biggest obstacle in building something better was the human element. Go figure, right? It was often behavioral and engrained mindsets that we often didn’t anticipate. Regardless, we adjusted and pushed through. Our success truly did revolve around these three pivot...

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Group Culture: Shifting Perspectives

Small groups is actually a thing (10-15 year ago, not nearly as much). Most of the curriculum you could buy for your ministry assumes that you’re already doing small groups. At least they provide questions and resources for small group time. Doing small group and having a small group culture, are in fact, two different things. Many churches offer small groups each and every week, but few churches have thriving groups because of a relational culture that was intentionally cultivated. Our transition to a healthy small group culture revolved around three specific pivot points: Know the Bullseye Shifting Perspectives Defining...

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Group Culture: Know the Bullseye

Building a healthy Small Group culture is quite the undertaking. It was a journey that took much longer than I anticipated. Although we haven’t yet “arrived,” we have managed to build a thriving culture for small groups. Looking back on the process, I can clearly see three specific pivot points that were crucial to the transition. If I was helping you transition your ministry where small groups were central to success, I’d walk you through these very same pivot points. Know the Bullseye Shifting Perspectives Defining the Win For this post, let’s take a look at the first pivot...

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Building Healthy Small Group Culture

A few years ago my parents came to visit for the holidays. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to pull out a “family fun activity” that brought back childhood holiday memories – the classic 1000 piece puzzle. Convinced that everyone would be as excited as I was, I staked my claim to the kitchen table and dumped out all 1000 pieces of this Thomas Kincaid-like puzzle. I set the box top on the corner to serve as our guide and got to work. My parents were amused. I toiled over the puzzle for hours while they’d graciously stop by for a...

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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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