You have 5 minutes left before parents arrive to pick up your few. As you wrap up your prayer activity, you invite your few to help clean up the supplies from small group time and grab their jacket & bible. In a matter of minutes, a shift will occur and you need to be ready.

It’s parent pick up time.

If you’re anything like me, parent pick up time feels a little like shopping on Black Friday. Parents flood the environment like Nascar racers bent on beating their personal record for exiting the building. Kids act like we just fed them a pound of sugar… and maybe we did!

And in all that craziness, your ministry leader has encouraged you to do something called ‘Cue the Parent’?

The idea that if you give the parent a ‘nugget’ of what you learned today—maybe a Bottom Line or the Scripture Focus—you equip them to ask better questions at home.

You think the idea is neat. The concept is cool.

But amidst the mini-whirlwind called ‘pick-up time’ where you’ve got to pass along their take-home paper, maybe check a security tag, or give a reward for great behavior, ensure your small group friends don’t leave their things behind, keep an eye on those that haven’t been picked up yet to ensure we don’t have another episode of Lord of the Flies… all while making sincere, intentional eye contact with the parent, smiling and telling them a little of what we learned today.  Simple, right?

Well… not exactly. And I know that.

The truth is, an SGL has a lot to juggle in that short but intense time during pick up. And I don’t want to ask anyone to do something that is simply impossible. Which is why I don’t think it’s all that impossible with the right things in place.

A few weeks ago I stepped in to lead a group of 2nd grade students. Their leader was out sick, and I was up to the plate. Though I’m a little rusty at the craziness of parent pick up, here are the 3 simple steps I took to create the opportunity to Cue the Parent.

Have an Activity
When the time rolls around and parents are on their way, pull out an activity you know the kids can do with limited supervision. Maybe a color sheet to color or a blank paper to draw out the bible focus. Have something handy the kids can do to keep them occupied. In our SGL materials, we always have blank paper and crayons available. I asked the kids to draw what they learned in pictures.

Set the Boundaries
Make sure your few know what’s expected. I took a few minutes as I passed out crayons and paper to let them know…

“I’ll be standing next to the circle but you will remain sitting and work on your drawing. If you finish before your parents get here, turn the page over and draw another picture.”

When you see your parent (or whoever brought you!) come to the circle you can stand up, grab your things and stand next to your parent. But wait until I get to talk to them!

I’m going to talk to each of your parents for a minute before saying goodbye. When I’m done, I want to say goodbye to you so don’t let me miss that!

Know What You’ll Say
Already know what you plan to say. Parents will ask their kids some version of the same two questions every week. “Did you have fun?” & “What did you learn?” So why not give them a head start! When I led this group a few weeks ago our bible focus was on Moses and the Nile. My ‘cue’ was simple… “Today we focused on Moses and how his mom and sister were pretty creative  when they saved him as a baby. Ask Charlie about the boat he made in small group. It was pretty fun and he was pretty creative!”

That ‘cue’ took less than 30 seconds. But I gave mom a valuable question to ask Charlie on the drive home. General questions gain general answers. Specific questions gain specific answers.

When we Cue the Parent we equip them to ask specific questions and have better conversations on the drive home.

When they have these conversations, we help them foster a habit of talking about what God has done.

When they talk about what God has done in the past, they’re better equipped to recognize what God is doing in the present.

And we help our few develop a relevant, everyday faith.

Are there any other tips you’ve discovered that you would add to this list?

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Gina is the Children’s Pastor at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Gina is driven by the idea of equipping, encouraging & empowering parents for the journey of teaching their kids to love and be loved by Jesus. Based upon her experience as a mom, she identifies with the everyday challenges of parenting. Gina and her husband, Kyle, have three kids, Keegan, Josie and Connor.

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