At 5:45 every Wednesday afternoon a familiar car pulls into our driveway. Our sitter, a sweet, bubbly, college girl is anxiously greeted by the sound of our 2 year old, screaming, at the top of his lungs, “B!!!!!” To say that he is excited to see her would be an understatement. She picks him up and dances with him as he laughs and laughs. As parents, it’s easy for us to leave our son with Brittany each week because we know our son is comfortable with her. He is used to how she takes care of him, and she is used to how he wants things. We couldn’t imagine if we had to introduce him to a brand new sitter each week. He would never get used to that person, and we would probably become less and less likely to leave him. Not to mention the fact that my husband and I couldn’t possibly build a relationship with a new sitter each week—something we cherish with Brittany.
As parents it is easy to see the benefit of a consistent sitter in our children’s lives, but the same is absolutely true for small group leaders in preschool environments. We crave consistent leaders for our children at church. And our children do as well—especially preschoolers who are at an age where they are just starting to spend more time away from their parents.
Children need consistency. They thrive when they know what to expect, and they build stronger, more engaging relationships with a leader they know will be there. Another benefit of consistent small group leaders is the chance it gives for parents to build relationships with their child’s leader. It is a win-win situation when the parent AND the child have had the opportunity to build a relationship with the small group leader. That can only happen if the leader is the same each week.
As a mom of a 2 year old, with one on the way, and as someone who has volunteered in preschool ministry for several years, I have had the privilege of seeing—first hand—the benefit of this principle from both sides. I have seen my son fall in love with his SGLs, Mrs. Pam and Ms. Natalie. I have also been able to build sweet little relationships with some 4 year olds, as well as a few deeper relationships with their parents.
If your church allows you the freedom to choose where you serve each week, consider planting your feet in one spot so you can develop consistent relationships with those children. Or, if you are faithfully serving in the same place each Sunday and you wonder if you are making a difference, know that you are. You most definitely are! You are giving those sweet children the gift of consistency. And the rewards for that will far outnumber your sacrifice.
What are some ways you have seen the benefits of a consistent small group leader?