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 they enter rooms with only rugs.

Their Preschool Large Group area was smaller in scale and a simple color scheme. Their new Large Group area is dramatically larger with neon colors and flashing lights.

Their Preschool Small Group rooms comprised of 4 walls and a door and housed a maximum of 3 small groups. Their new Small Group rooms house upwards of 15 small groups at one time.

The dynamics have changed.

And they need time to adjust.

As a SGL, the best gift you can give your new Kindergartners is patience, time & expectations as you help them adjust to their new world.


Kindergartners have an interesting way of expressing their uncertainty. Some seem to explode out of themselves as they bounce off the walls while others appear to want to fold up inside themselves as they take everything in. Remember that your smile, your calm voice, and your loving encouragement will draw them toward the behavior you want to see in them.


In the midst of this transition, it’s tempting to think you’re doing the impossible. When it feels as if you spend the majority of your Small Group time reminding your few to sit criss-cross-applesauce, it’s tough to believe anything spiritually valuable is taking place.

But remember time is your greatest asset. As your few settle into their school routine, they will settle into your routine as well. Don’t give up. Be predictably present and you’ll be amazed to see how they respond.


Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. They’re more helpful than you know. Kids want to know what is expected of them. And they will rise to the expectations you consistently set for them. So invest time teaching them how to actively listen, how to sit in a circle, or how to take turns sharing.


Your goal as a SGL is more than teaching them bible lessons. It’s about teaching them how to be in a small group. If we teach them how to be part of a small group today, we help them to continue that pattern as they grow up. And learning how to foster friendships within the context of a small group is a great foundation to invest in your few.

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

Gina McClain June 12th, 2014 0 comments

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

Don’t Eat Yellow Snow

“Right-y Tight-y; Left-y Loose-y”
Every time I use a screwdriver, this phrase runs through my mind. A quick reminder of which direction I should turn to loosen or tighten the screw. I laugh at the idea that I still depend on this childhood phrase. But it’s right. And it works.
I have several of these phrases branded in my mind.
Be the friend you want

Gina McClain March 25th, 2014 0 comments