“For the most part, young children simply trust you because you are older. And trust
is important if you are going to help your few clarify their faith. But the truth
is, every year a child grows older, that trust is harder to earn. It’s like they
start to hold back. Filter. Become more…Grown Up.” – Reggie Joiner
Preschool ministry and preschool small groups compare to no other areas of ministry. These fresh little hearts are still sponges and ooze out life’s moments and feelings unfiltered and honest. Don’t believe me? Try taking something away from them that they want. They will surely display their emotions before you. Very honestly and loudly!
In my opinion, preschool ministry can be the revolutionizing of the church. In many cases, it’s the foundation of a preschooler’s faith. It’s the very beginning of their glimpse of the church and of a God who loves them, made them and wants to be their friend forever!
So how do you create a culture in your preschool small group that makes sure your
preschoolers are feeling safe and secure to really be honest and apply what you’re helping them learn? How do you create a relationship with your preschool small group that shows them that they can trust you?
Like everything else in a preschooler’s world, consistency is huge. Just being there consistently and being a familiar face excited to see them and ask and hear about their week is big. Be excited about what they are excited about. Listen as much, if not more, than you talk. Be excited about discussing the bottom line for the week. It doesn’t take much to get a preschooler intrigued and excited.
Being authentic in your own life is just as important as consistency. The biggest lesson I have learned as a preschool small group leader is that I myself have to believe and be living out whatever it is I want my preschoolers to get. It’s hard to believe that authenticity starts at such a young age as preschool, but it does. You, as a small group leader, can be one of the biggest examples of how to worship and know a God that is crazy about us. Worship is simply allowing God into everything, and knowing that just dialoguing with Him is an act of trust and an act of praise. That is the kind of worship we should be living out and longing to show our preschoolers. After a while it creates a beautiful relationship of trust with those sweet little hearts.
Simple love. Simple faith. Simple worship. Simple wonder.
Isn't it great how we each have built-in "Start-Fresh" moments throughout the year?
New Year's Day is a magical moment when everything that happened the year before is (theoretically) wiped clean and you get to decide (for the 18th or 40th or 67th time) who you are going to be this year.
Then there's your birthday. Every year you get to say "Sayonara!" to your 20's
The key to leading small is showing up—both consistently and randomly in the lives of your few. And summertime provides all kinds of unique opportunities to do just that.
Many churches have planned summer fun—VBS, Kid’s Camps or special activities for kids during the summer. Even though you may not “have” to be there, these are great opportunities to show up in a random and unexpected way!
I belong to you . . .
You belong to me.
Beyond lyrics to a Lumineers song, these two statements can sum up a great relationship within your small group. We understand the fact that everyone needs a place to belong; a group where they are known and welcome. There is something powerful in the sense of belonging. What cements this relationship for your little
Think with the end in mind.
Such a valuable part of leading small with our few, but it can be elusive sometimes when you are living in preschool world! There are Sundays where it’s hard to see beyond that gentle, quiet Harper, who has many things that happened in her world this week, but Annie won’t be quiet long enough for her to share. Or
Your preschool small group is a great place for kids to not only get their first impressions of their Heavenly Father, but also to get their first impressions of what it means to be the church. As they are beginning to understand that the church is where God’s family gathers, that this is where we all love God and, at least most of the time,
Can we really expect a 4-year-old to recite the memory verse two hours after he heard it in your small group on Sunday morning?
Can we expect a 2-year-old to properly pronounce all of those words so that Mom and Dad understand what she is saying?
Yes and, well, yes—at least some of the words with a little help!
First let’s think about why we
Sometimes I think we need to remind ourselves that church IS a place to have FUN, and to have FUN does not have to be complex, does not require a ton of prep or a huge budget. Fun can be simple!! Give a preschooler a few “props” and just watch their imagination go!!
The First Look “Pirate” theme has helped remind me just how much
When leading our few preschoolers, some where in between the "be nice" and "share" talks, spilled snacks, “accidents”, crying over hurt feelings (and possibly "she put glue on my sheep not hers" conversations), it is easy to lose sight of thinking with the end in mind. Our few are at a unique place in development. Their ability to communicate their thoughts and needs are often
You just never know what each day with your few may hold and which day could turn out to be THE day. There were a lot of THE days in the Bible and the people who helped those days happen were simply living their life, day to day in the lives of those who they were influencing. By choosing to be consistently present in the