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...Read More
Let’s be honest. If you lead a ministry on Sunday, Saturday’s suck. Not a Saturday night goes by that I don’t dread my phone and email. It’s only a matter of time. The texts will come in. The phone will ring. Emails will hit the inbox. I’m sick I forgot to tell you that I was on vacation I didn’t realize that I was on the schedule Didn’t I tell you that I couldn’t serve anymore? Yep, Saturday’s suck. Didn’t you know that Saturday is “volunteer back out day?” What’s interesting is how many ministry leaders are surprised by...Read More
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...Read More
I became the Children’s Pastor at Life Austin a couple of years ago. On my very first Sunday, I was encouraged to find that the main leader of the kid’s ministry was an excellent communicator. He could assemble a great lesson, and he was always very smooth with his delivery. It was excellent, but there was a problem. He was doing it all by myself. He spoke for 50 minutes. He knew that he was a skilled communicator, so he spoke. And he spoke and he spoke and he spoke some more. It only took me about 20 minutes to...Read More
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...Read More
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,...Read More
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
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
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