Watch the Clock

It’s the time of year when you and your few have settled into a rhythm.

As an SGL, you’ve figured out how much time to invest each week to prepare to teach your few.

You’ve learned how to transition your kids from one segment of the service to the next without losing their attention…much.

You’ve even discovered ways to make an activity fun but not crazy.

But whether you’ve been an SGL for 1 week or 1 year, we all discover even the best laid plans will go awry when kids are involved. Sometimes the activities you lead with your few simply don’t go as you predict. So, how do you prepare for the unpredictability?

Here are a few ideas to help you manage your time and help you land on your feet every time.

Did someone hit the pause button?
You thought your activities would consume all 30 minutes but they only took 20. You’ve got 10 more precious, potentially chaotic minutes stretched out before you like the final mile in a marathon. The question of whether or not you CAN do it is irrelevant. You have to find something to do.

Stretching time to keep your few engaged can feel like catching flies with chop sticks. Not impossible, but let’s be real.  You can be prepared for those moments by having a contingency plan. Consider these:

Do you have an ‘ice breaker’ game for the beginning of your service? Pull those out again and re-engage your few. You’ll find that kids don’t mind jumping into an already familiar activity.

If your teaching content doesn’t included a scripture memory activity, brainstorm with other SGLs to create one. Have that in your back pocket ready to pull out when you need it most. Make sure they are simple, fun and can fit with any scripture.

For younger elementary, grab extra paper and crayons and ask kids to draw what they learned. Sharing thoughts through drawing is a great developmental way to increase comprehension.

For older elementary, teach them how to pray. If you’ve got an extra 10 minutes on your hands, talk to your few about how they can incorporate a pattern to their prayer and talk to God in a more focused way.  Share about ways you invite God’s direction into your own life.

The Clock is Ticking!
Some activities take WAY more time than expected and you’ll find you can’t get all of it done in the time you have! You have a choice. You could militantly rush your few through every activity and check them off the list. You may be out of breath by the time you’re done, and the kids may be a little windblown from the fast pace… but at least you got it all done.

OR you could try something different. Rather than doing all the activities quickly, you could choose to do a few activities deeply. When you find you have to make that decision… the critical choice between one activity or the other… always default to the one that will deepen the connection between you and your few.

It’s okay to sacrifice an activity in order to ensure your few walk away with a deeper understanding of how much God loves them.

As an SGL, you have a lot to manage in a small amount of time. But don’t lose sight of this reality. It’s not the bible story you want them to learn. It’s the God whom the bible story amplifies that you want them to know. And it’s your smile, your words, and your presence that communicate that Truth more than the best activity possibly could.

Gina McClain November 3rd, 2014 0 comments

3 Things Your Kindergarteners Need

It's a brand new school year and you've got a fresh batch of Kindergartners. Many of these little people are adjusting to a new school, a new weekly routine and now a new church experience. The wonder of what they experience may emerge in ways you don't expect.

At my church, our newest Kindergartners come from preschool rooms equipped with tables and chairs. But now

Gina McClain September 16th, 2014 0 comments

Getting the “New Kid” to Open Up

As a Small Group you leader you need to have the ability to get kids to open up to you.  We need to feel pretty confident that we can get any kid, anywhere, in most any circumstance to talk with us.   You may be thinking, "I just wish I could get my kids to STOP talking so much!"  But I'm not talking about the

Jonathan Cliff August 21st, 2014 1 comment

Confession of a Pastor-Dad

Can I be completely transparent for a minute? I’m a NextGen Pastor at an amazing church where I get to recruit, train and deploy hundreds of volunteers who invest in the lives of kids and students every week. We’ve created an environment where “Leading Small” is the way we do ministry and it’s incredibly rewarding to see the life-change that happens in this kind of

Kenny Conley August 13th, 2014 0 comments

Making a Parent Look Good

I'm a small group leader and a parent. Actually I'm a parent first.

Maybe I should rewrite that first statement.

As a parent, I love nothing more than to see my kid receive attention from adults that mean them well and want to see them succeed. But selfishly, I love a small group leader that can do that while making me look good in front of

Jonathan Cliff August 11th, 2014 2 Comments

The Right Question to Ask

It's the beginning of a new school year and chances are good you are dealing with change.

There's something about rhythms that are comforting.  And when rhythms are thrown off, it's disconcerting.

For most of us, change can be hard.

No matter your season in life, you notice this time a year there are changes. Even driving to work there are more cars on the

Gina McClain August 7th, 2014 0 comments

Tell Your Story

Did you know your church is always searching for more leaders? No matter how big the church you serve, there is always a need for more people to invest in the lives of the kids there. As a small group leader, you play a huge role in this "recruiting" plan.

If your church leader could clone you, they would! You are the one your leaders

Jonathan Cliff July 14th, 2014 0 comments

3 Simple Investments

Do you ever take time to look back and take stock of what’s happening in your life? Like taking inventory, do you stop near the end of one year or the beginning of the next and consider all you’ve walked out in the past 12 months?
The exercise is clarifying. It helps us see where we've struggled, where we’ve conquered and how we've grown.
There’s something

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Old Hat Syndrome

Effectively leading a small group of kids has many challenges. Challenges you might expect: fitting material into 20-30 minutes, redirecting wild behavior, keeping kids engaged. And challenges you could never anticipate: having to scrap lesson plans to have an impromptu discussion on whether or not pet rats get into heaven, ransacking the snack closet to find something for the kid who skipped breakfast, or the

Guest Writer May 20th, 2014 6 Comments


Why this might be a secret weapon…

Here’s what I know about you as a small group leader: you want to impact kids.  You want your small group to know and grow in God’s love.  And I’m sure you know how using everyday moments helps you lead small.  Some would be surprised that a little three-letter word could be such a factor in the success

Guest Writer May 14th, 2014 0 comments