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.

What about 16 kids?

It sounds like you need another leader so you can split into two groups of 8. 16 isn’t really a small group. Things will quickly get out of control and some won’t be able to hear well.

A small group for kids has a leader who is there EVERY WEEK

Every week?

Yes! When kid’s attendance averages between once every 3-5 weeks, every other week volunteers will never build a consistency that kids can depend on.

What kind of commitment do you expect from a weekly volunteer like this?

You’d be surprised. We ask for a one-year commitment. However, if you create the right kind of environment (especially when leaders can move up with their kids, they’ll serve in this role for years and years.

A small group leader is a UNIQUE and SPECIFIC role

Like a Sunday School teacher, but with fewer kids, right?

Not exactly. A small group leader isn’t really a teacher. They’re more of a guide/coach/friend/mentor

So their job isn’t to “teach” kids about the Bible?

Yes and no. They help kids process what they’re learning. They ask good questions and help kids unpack and apply truth. Most importantly, they’re building a relationship – earning trust and influence.

A small group leader is a strategic link between the CHURCH and the PARENTS

What does this look like?

We have parents pick up their kids from small group so that parents and leaders can actually meet. We also give small group leaders the contact information of their kid’s parents.

What’s the goal?

It’s just a partnership. Leaders can share what their kids are learning and talking about at church. Parents can share what their kids are into or struggling with at home or school. As this relationship develops, the small group leader becomes a trusted ally every parent needs.

Yes, I just had an imaginary conversation with myself. I hope it helped. Honestly, the resource that has helped me define small groups better than anything is the book “Lead Small.” It essentially outlines the job description of the small group leader which states:

  • Be Present
  • Create a Safe Place
  • Partner with Parents
  • Make it Personal
  • Move them Out

These ideas that we train our small group leaders in helping define what a small group looks like at our church.