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 kids you know, I m talking about those first time kids that come into our group, or maybe the kid in the checkout line at Wal-Mart (of course in public make sure you don’t creep the parents out and be sure to invite them to your church).

Are there things you can do to get any kid to talk to you?   Yes you can, and here are a few tricks.   Feel free to put them to the test, and I guarantee you that you will get a positive response.

The Nickname Method: Simply ask them if they have a nickname.   This worked fabulously when I worked with more inner city kids, because they ALL had nicknames!   But even out here in the the nether regions of West Texas I ve found that kids love to share nicknames.   Maybe they have a name that their mom calls them, or something their friends joke with them about.   Kids love nicknames.   If they don t have one, then you can offer them some suggestions.   It s an instant ice-breaker!

The Girly Dress Method: When seeing a girl wearing something super girly, I tell them that I almost wore the exact same thing today and I’m so glad I didn’t because we would have looked exactly alike.   This has an almost 100% guarantee of getting a little girl to smile.  Of course if you’re wearing a Veggie-tale tie, and your socks are bright orange to match your custom-made knickers; then the kid might find you believable and it then becomes creepy. On this note, be sure to always tell the girls how beautiful they are!   Don’t miss the valuable opportunity to positively affect the self-esteem of the girls we see every weekend.

The Tattoo Method: When spotting a temporary tattoo on a kid, I always make a big deal about how I can’t believe their parents let them go get a tattoo and warn them that it’s never coming off.  Kids love temporary tattoos, and they love showing them off.   It’s so fun listening to a 7 year old explain that it’s not a real tattoo, I get some personal satisfaction being corrected on this method every time.

The Grade Method: Always tell kids that they must be in a grade that is higher than what you know they are in.   For example upon meeting a new tiny 2nd grader, ask them if they are in the 8th grade and make a big deal about it.   I ask kids all the time if they drove themselves to church, because they are so big and grown up looking.  Sometimes I will tell a 1st grader that they are too old to attend, because they must be 13 years old.   I’m never very serious, and the kids always know I’m kidding.   However, much like the Tattoo Method, the kids love to explain that they are only nine and always correct me quickly.   Kids love to be told they look older than they are.

There are so many different ways to get kids to open up and feel comfortable coming into a new environment and I feel that as a small group leader one of my primary jobs is to help kids not be intimidated by a new church experience.

I’d love to hear what works for you if you work with kids.   Please share in the comments.

Jonathan Cliff August 21st, 2014 0 comments

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 0 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

How to be a Superstar

McKenna is a Kindergarten Small Group Leader.  Three years ago she didn’t know Jesus. She was a teenager seeking more but struggling to find it. Through a series of unique events, she encountered Christ and it changed her life.
Not long after, she started serving.
Initially, she assisted a team of Small Group leaders. Helping to bring support where needed. McKenna’s shy, understated personality allowed

Gina McClain March 18th, 2014 0 comments