Here at Mansfield Bible Church, we believe small groups is key to ministry. This is true for all ministries, from children’s through adult. Recently, I read Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and I believe his five aspects of leading a small group for children and youth are beneficial for all who pursue a small group model of ministry. Here is a summary of his five points:
Be Present: Kids and adults need small group leaders small group leader who show up on a routine basis. Preferably, small group leaders should commit to weekly serving because this helps to build deeper relationships, develop trust, and establishes routine. Being present means showing up physically and showing up mentally.
Create a safe place: In order to create a safe place for small groups, three goals are in mind. First, people need to feel that they are accepted into a community of people. Secondly, there must be a valuing of confidentiality. Thirdly, to have s safe place in small groups we must value honesty. If honesty fails authenticity is lost.
Partner with Parents: Small Group leaders will be spending roughly one hour a week with your group while parents spend 3,000 hours with their kids per year. Parents are the primary disciplers of their children, thus a small group leaders job is to partner with parents in their child’s journey for authentic faith. Always partner with parents in a discussion and help children to follow the direction and guidance of their parents.
Make it personal: When you lead activities and talk about the lesson, it is good to make the lesson personal. The entire lesson should not be personal, but a small 2 minute personal story on how God has worked in your life with connection to the lesson of the day is good. This helps kids and youth to know that bible stories are not simply to be memorized but they are to change our lives and change who we are.
Move them out: Even though you love being a small group leader, there will come a day when you are no longer their small group leader. Move them to the next small group leader, move them to being the Church through service and evangelism, and move them on to the next stage of life.