I remember being a kid and listening to the story of the 10 Commandments. After hearing all of them read aloud by my Sunday School teacher I can remember thinking, “Wow… So, what CAN I do?”

Obviously since that time I’ve learned a lot more about God’s word and the circumstances surrounding the significance of these laws. But at the time… they just sounded like a bunch of stuffy rules.

As an SGL, have you ever listened to the kinds of directives you give your few?

It’d be an interesting experiment to listen to yourself this week and count the number of times your directive is a DON’T and how many times your directive is a DO.

I would suggest that by changing what you ask your few to DO initially, will significantly cut down on the number of DON’Ts you give them later.

My theory… Give them the right DO and you’ll avoid a bunch of DON’Ts.

Kids need specific, concise direction. When directions are specific, you leave nothing to interpretation. When directions are concise, they can process faster.

But it’s incredibly helpful (and simply more fun) when your directives are more about what they CAN do rather than what they CAN’T do.

The most successful group transitions I’ve witnessed with kids are when the SGL says…

“Everybody hop to the circle.”


“Everybody go to the circle.”

The first directive tells your few how you want them to travel. The latter leaves it to the child to determine what is okay. Like running, skipping, rolling, etc. You can maintain better control by telling them how you want them to carry out the command you’ve given them.

The most attentive groups I’ve seen are when the leader says…

“Sit on your bottom, criss-cross-applesauce.”


“Sit down.”

Yes, the first command is a little cheesy… but the latter command (though concise) is not specific enough. Too much is left for the child to interpret what a sitting position can look like. Yet if you disagree with their choice of posture, you’re drawn into a potentially negative interaction that could have been avoided.

Leading your group can be more fun for everyone by telling them what they CAN DO versus what they CAN’T DO.

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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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