The Handoff

Most Sunday mornings find me leading my few preschoolers in some amazing adventures of life change – on their part and mine! Recently, I ended up on the other side of the lead small equation – as a family interfacing with small group leaders. On this particular day, three of my grandchildren, who are 18 months, 3 ½ years and 5 years olds were at church with me.  The baby had only been to our church once, so he was not going to be familiar with his class or any leaders. There was no small amount of angst with the 3 ½ year old about her class- would she have a girl teacher, who would be in there, what was going to happen. Indeed, that angst was shared by me, as I started to anticipate every single thing that could possibly go wrong!

Our church’s goal is to have consistent small group leaders, but as in all churches, sometimes reality strikes and regular leaders aren’t there, rooms are not open, and last minute shuffling of resources occurs. With that in mind, I was saying some pretty serious prayers on the way to church that I would know the leaders in her class, that her class would be open, that she would feel comfortable, that the youngest child would not have a crying meltdown… and so on.

What relief I experienced when the leader in the toddler room was kind and welcoming, drying tears with offers of an animal cookie. Then a familiar face and an open room for the older girls resulting in a smooth preschooler handoff! After church, all the conversations centered around what they had learned, how fun their leader was, and how silly the “boy leader” was! Bonus points for the great Junior High leader that held my little one’s hand so she wouldn’t be scared!

This very positive experience was a reminder of the value we can bring as we lead small. Our attitudes, how fully engaged we are, the environments in our room – all make a huge difference in what our few experience! What a different scenario it would have been if I had not known the leader, or the room was closed, or the atmosphere was not one of welcoming activities specifically designed to engage children. I’m so grateful for those leaders who saw the value in showing up consistently and being ready for my own personal few!

How can you see through the eyes of first time parents and children? And also the eyes of your “regulars”?

Gay Tucciarone March 24th, 2014 4 Comments

A Question of Trust

As we are helping our few lay a foundation for their faith, they take most of what we say as truth, because we are adults and they trust us.  But sometimes, they have questions.  And how we field those questions, even at a young age, determines whether they will ask us the next time a question arises in their mind.

Trust is a commodity that

Barbara Graves March 17th, 2014 0 comments

Move them out

How can it be almost Spring? Perhaps because the area I live in has had a much longer, colder winter than usual (2 snow events and many below freezing days... I know for those in the northeast and Midwest that doesn’t seem like much!), it seems like the calendar has suddenly fast forwarded. This brings me to a tough, but very necessary part of leading

Gay Tucciarone March 11th, 2014 0 comments

All the Stories

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” – Oswald Chambers

They all have a story. Every one of them. Even as a preschooler that has only been in this world for

Danielle Schneller March 3rd, 2014 0 comments

Just The Facts

Often we hear exciting stories from other leaders and think, “Wow! That’s amazing.  I wonder why that not happening in my group.”   Sometimes we show up week  in and week out and our kids show up week in and week out and that appears to be all that’s happening.   It’s like those early morning drives when fog has settled in, you moving ahead slowly, following

Barbara Graves February 24th, 2014 0 comments

Growing with the Changes

For the past few months our preschool environment has been experiencing a HUGE growth spurt, which is AMAZING and we are so blessed by it. However, there have been some Sundays that I have walked away feeling discouraged as a leader. I felt like in some ways we were moving from being a great small group environment to “childcare” at a quick speed, and I

Jenny Zimmer February 21st, 2014 0 comments

You Are Late

You are late again.

“But it won’t matter because there are other volunteers who will be there.”
“I will make it before we really get started.”
“Surely no one will notice if I am just a little late each week.”

You have made the excuses above.
You have had a hard time getting your kids out the door.
It takes too long for everyone to

Cass Brannan February 10th, 2014 0 comments

Back On Track

My first volunteer position at my new church was with preschoolers.   I was just a couple of weeks in and I all ready was having serious doubts that anything we were trying to teach these kids was sticking. Worship time would begin so well, everyone watching the worship leader and doing the motions together.  Then, halfway into the song, two of my 4-yr old cuties

Barbara Graves February 4th, 2014 0 comments

Being Predictable

This past week, I had an unusual experience – I gladly let one of my few steal the show for a few minutes! That is not something that happens too often, we try to share everything, including each other’s time. Each week, I find myself prompting one of my few (usually the same one) to let someone else have a turn to speak. But last

Gay Tucciarone January 28th, 2014 0 comments

Partnering with Parents in the Fast Lane

An important part of your endeavor to Lead Small is to partner with parents. But sometimes Sundays are the hardest times to talk with the people who attend your church! I mean, seriously? Have you seen how fast parents can move when the last "Amen!" has been uttered and service is over? It seems that everyone is on an impossibly tight schedule and whether they

Barbara Graves January 13th, 2014 2 Comments