As a parent, there is nothing harder than handing your child over to someone else—especially a complete stranger—but that’s what we do on the first day at a new church or in a new preschool classroom.
I used to work in our church’s preschool ministry where I knew all of the volunteers. And I mean ALL of the volunteers. I remember bringing my baby on his first Sunday and knowing the names and stories of every volunteer in the room, but that’s just not the case anymore as I’ve stepped out of that role. Fortunately, just because I no longer work there doesn’t mean I can’t still have the same relationship with his small group leaders.
It’s really important for me to know who my child is around each week. And that’s what I love about his small group leaders. Barring things like sickness and vacation, they really are there every week. They want to be there to welcome my child every week just as much as I want them to, and even more so, as much as my son wants them to. He recognizes them because my church is very intentional with the placement of the volunteers and the kids. They want kids to be around the same volunteer faces week in and week out, and I believe that makes a huge difference for all of us.
Instead of walking up to complete strangers and dropping off my son, I’m leaving him with people that I have grown to know through our weekly interactions. And I love that. When my son misses group for a week, his small group leaders notice, and they welcome him back the following week saying that they missed him. They celebrate his birthday. They send him postcards in the mail. I believe his leaders are fully invested in the fact that they are NOT just babysitting. They are investing in his life and the lives of the next generation, and I am SO glad they show up for him every week. I can assure you it has made it much, much easier to hand my sweet child over to someone else.
So, what can you do to help build the same relationship with your child’s small group leader?
- Don’t be in such a rush. Slow down during pick-up and/or drop-off time. Getting to know the leaders is worth your extra time.
- Introduce yourself. Put a name to a face with each of the small group leaders in your child’s room. It’s also great for the leaders to put a name to your face as the child’s parent.
- Appreciate them. This can be as simple as a hand-made card from your child or a $5 Starbucks gift card. Learn the leader’s birthday, or surprise them “just because” to let them know how much you appreciate their influence in your child’s life.
Making the extra effort to connect with your children’s small group leaders is so valuable, and not just for you but for your children and their SGLs as well. And if you’ve made those connections, we would love to hear how you went about that! Share the wisdom! What is something that’s worked for you to help get to know your child’s small group leader?
Written by McKenzie Causey
First Look Project Manager