When I was a kid I loved watching The Muppet Show. In many ways Beaker, Gonzo, Kermit, & Miss Piggy shaped my world-view.
I’ll confess that I can look at some of my SGLs through the lens of Muppet characters. I know that sounds a little twisted. But just like personality profiling tools like Myers-Briggs, I think someone should come up with something based upon Muppet characters. My MBTI pegs me as an ENFP but I’ve self-assessed my Muppet mix as “Kermit/Beaker/Fozzie”.
I’m not sure how much value or clarity that brings to the workplace, but I think it could offer hours of entertainment and conversation for a group of SGLs working together to make ministry happen every weekend. If we’re honest, any one of us could sit down and peg the Statler and Waldorf’s of the team. (Remember… those were the old theater critics in the balcony.)
I’ve observed many SGLs in action and there are plenty of times when they emerge from the time spent with their few looking like Gonzo after another trumpet solo gone awry. Panting, frustrated and ready to throw in the towel.
The truth is… no one wants to be a Gonzo.
As I have audience with SGLs, I’ve learned that these simple skills are the best ones I can impart that will help make their small group experience less like Animal in a drum solo and more like Kermit singing on a lily pad.
Your few will listen with interest if you are interesting. Study the material ahead of time to think through how to make the lesson creative and interesting for your age group.
Smile, Laugh and Look
It’s good teaching technique to laugh and use voice inflections to retain interest among your few. Make eye contact and smile when talking to your group. Kids will listen when they sense that you care about them.
Tell Them What You Expect
It’s important to clearly tell your few what you expect from them. When they know what you expect, it makes more sense to them when you hold them accountable. Your few want to know where the boundaries lie… so set them.
Tell Them What They Can Expect
Kids love rewards. And what’s rewarded is repeated. Use a simple reward system so kids know what they can expect when they do what you expect. From hand stamps, to little stickers, to Starburst candies… there are a variety of simple ways you can motivate the kind of behavior you want from your few.
Four skills to exercise that equip you to lead your group and brings them back for more. Don’t be a Gonzo. Be you.