The ABCs To Leading An Effective #KidMin Small Group
Imagine a room with a dozen elementary kids hopped up on snacks and juice: four boys are playing tag, a couple kids are playing leap frog, three girls are singing “Let It Go,” and several are arguing about who sits closest to the door. Sounds eerily similar to what many Children's Ministry small groups look like across America, right?
Jumping into a group of elementary age kids to teach them a Biblical truth can be a highly stressful, highly frustrating event. Now imagine being thrown in as a new volunteer without any training or guidelines as to how to lead it; it becomes a recipe for disaster. This happens all too often: volunteers get handed the tall task of navigating the aforementioned scenario with no chance to be successful.
Here are a few tips that I hope give some guardrails to keep your Children's Pastors and Children's Ministry volunteers in the game longer. If you follow these ABCs, your KidMin small groups will be more effective and the kids will actually learn and grow.
A: Be Abbreviated
Kids have notoriously short attention spans, so your 30-40 minute small group will likely fail miserably. Take a “short but potent” approach, and remember that less is more. If done well, the small group segment of any Kids Ministry has the potential to be the greatest 10-15 minutes for growth both spiritually and relationally to the children involved. However, if it’s too long and detailed, you’ll lose them. Keep it short!
B: Be Basic
Remember that the average fourth grader doesn’t understand advanced Theological content. We need to realize that these children are in a prime foundation stage in learning Biblical truths, and to continually go over their heads may render church confusing or meaningless to them in the long run. Using basic yet relevant stories and illustrations, just as Jesus did, helps young listeners relate and stay focused on what’s being taught. Keep it short, and keep it simple!
C: Be Clear
One of the biggest mistakes Children's Pastors or volunteers can make is to try and cram too much material into the allotted time. If you try to pack too much in, the bottom line message will be blurred. Focus on the single thought you want kids to understand that day, and then brainstorm several different ways to communicate this same thought. When you do this, the message becomes clear and kids will understand and remember it. When they walk out of church, they’ll be more likely able to tell mom/dad what they learned. Keep it short, keep it simple, and be crystal clear with what you’re trying to communicate!
D: Be Dynamic
Be ever-changing, and keep them guessing. KidMin small groups that are the same every single week get boring and predictable.
For instance, one 20 minute group might include a 5 minute game that corresponds to the message followed by a few questions; Next, give them some sort of take-home activity, followed by a couple more questions. There are a ton of creative elements and activities that can be used to change things up every week if you’re willing to take the time and effort to get creative with it. Keep it short, keep it simple, be clear, and change it up!
Remember, our goal is for kids to walk away each week having had fun and with an understanding of a basic Biblical truth that they can apply to their lives that day. Kids are ready and waiting to grow in their relationship with God. Keep it as easy as ABCD: Abbreviated, Brief, Clear, & Dynamic.
Have you seen these ABCs in action? How do they work in your Children's Ministry?