Whether your kids meet in small groups or Sunday school classes, one of your goals is likely for that group to experience community. In other words, you want them to build relationships and learn how important it is to have other believers in their lives. But you know as well as I do that just because some kids are in a room together does not guarantee that community is going to happen. Here are some things that will help:
1. Consistency: As much as possible keep the same kids together. If groups are formed with different kids each week, community building starts all over again.
2. Connect kids every week: I have been discouraged before when I heard kids who were in class together all year say they didn’t even know the names of the kids in their group. Sometimes we get so busy doing stuff that we neglect connecting kids to each other. Frequently have kids remind each other of their names. Ask them to share likes or dislikes. Help them discover things they have in common.
3. Lead kids to pray for each other: Avoid the trap of prayer requests becoming a list of forgotten items. Teach kids to share important prayer requests and then lead kids to pray for each other, even right there on the spot. Keep journals of prayer requests so the group can follow up later.
4. Create memories: Encourage groups to do something special in or outside of the class. One of the best ways to make community memories is to find a way for your class to serve together. Design a simple ministry project, go visit a nursing home, clean the church windows or do anything else that requires your class to give of themselves together
5. Touch base in between Sundays: Community doesn’t just happen on Sundays. Encourage leaders to periodically touch base with their class members during the week. Notes in the mail, e-mails, and phone calls help kids feel special and that they are important to the community.
We would love to hear your experience leading small group of kids. What advice would you offer? Leave a comment below to share your ideas with other readers.