As SGLs, we believe life-change happens in circles. This is the magic behind small groups. Coming together in a circle to encourage, challenge and love each other as we grow to develop in our everyday faith. We know this is true for all ages. Even our elementary-aged few that we lead each week at church.

But there’s a secret ingredient beyond your weekly small group time that can take your group from great to amazing. There’s a step you can take that can lead to better relationships with your few and better connections with their parents.

I call it… flipping your circle inside-out.

Each week you come together in a circle… shoulder-to-shoulder, facing inward to talk about what God has done in the lives of others and what God is doing (or can do) in the lives of our few.

Imagine if you took some time outside of that weekly interaction and flipped that circle inside-out. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, facing outward… what could your few do together that will move them out to serve others?

Consider how moving them out to serve others could change…

…the way they see their world?

…the way they see their faith?

…the way they their purpose?

Here are a few ideas to help as you consider how you can flip your circle inside-out:

Keep It Practical
Be sure to schedule the serving opportunity at a time families can participate. School nights can be hectic and getting to bed on time is a pretty high value for parents. Shoot for early evenings, Saturday mid-mornings or Sundays after church. Invite parents to contribute toward pizza and lemonade. Work to remove the barriers that prevent one of your few from participating.

Keep It Simple
Depending on the age of your few, be sure that the serving opportunity is simple and age-appropriate. There are hidden serving ‘gems’ throughout your community to be discovered. It’s just a matter of making some phone call.

For example, a few years ago our small group learned that Chaplains at our local Children’s Hospital have limited budgets. Yet they encounter families every day who’s child is hospitalized unexpectedly.  These families have simple immediate needs for things like toiletries and snacks. So, the families within our group gathered travel-sized toiletry items and created care packages for the Chaplain to provide. Super simple, yet super helpful.

Keep It Together
As an SGL, it can be difficult to gain meaningful time to interact with the parents of your few. Leverage this opportunity by inviting parents to participate, too. This is not a drop-and-go activity. Feel no obligation to make it so. Instead, let parents know this experience is for everyone. Imagine the memories you make with your few when their parents are engaged, as well!

Flipping the circle inside-out can transform your group (and you). What ways have you discovered to move your few to serve others?


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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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