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? You may be able to plan the large group experience, but as soon as you dismiss to small groups, control goes out the window. Some groups will go long. Other groups will be too noisy. Many groups will finish early causing a distraction to all the other groups. The only thing you can depend on is how undependable these groups will be.
Groups are Incredibly TIME CONSUMING
If you’re going to actually do groups right, you have to understand the undertaking this is. Groups require a significant number of volunteers. Not just any volunteers, but high-quality volunteers. Group leaders will easily become the largest volunteer need and when you’re short group leaders, every other group leader will feel the pressure. You’ll spend significant time recruiting, training, communicating, and developing these volunteers. You’ll need to allocate really good volunteers and possibly staff to leading all of those working in groups.
Groups can be a DISTRACTION
As a staff member or ministry leader, you have dedicated hours and hours into what kids will experience for the time they are in church. You have the time and capacity to work through all the elements of a service and work out every transition. Chances are that you’ve received specialized training and you have years of experience doing what you do. You and your team have the capacity to build an amazing experience from end to end. However, dedicating at least half of a service to small groups can be incredibly distracting. Just the transition alone can be chaotic and disorganized. Many small group leaders will be disorganized and unprepared. Allowing for groups may detract from what the experience could be.
Groups Require Significant INVESTMENT
If you’re going to do groups, it’s going to cost you. Groups aren’t cheap. They won’t just demand your time, they’ll demand your resources as well. A large group only experience will require certain expenses for program resources and creative props/illustrations. However, groups require activities and illustrations for every group or even every single kid. Whether it’s a creative activity, a game, or a takeaway for every kid – someone has to purchase, prepare and distribute all the resources. It’s an investment you need to understand before diving into groups.
Groups Require Significant RISK
You never really know a person, do you? It takes time to know if someone is really a fit for something. However, you’re going to need a ton of people to pull off groups. Some are going to be amazing and others are going to be duds. Sometimes the people you think are going to be amazing even turn out to be less than impressive. Before you know it, kids who were once really connected to your ministry are coming less often because of a leader they don’t really like. Sometimes the damage is done before you have a chance to do anything. The more groups you have, the more risk you take in placing kids in groups.
For many, these reasons may be compelling. These could be the reasons why they haven’t fully jumped into a groups model. However, the reasons listed above might also be the very reasons to offer small groups. Tomorrow, I’ll take a second look at these same reasons and how they might actually compell us to offer small groups!
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