Over the past several weeks I have been working almost full-time to prepare and execute the large group environments for our summer camps, Hot U Jr (for 3 year olds – entering Kindergarten) and Hot U (entering 1st grade – entering 4th grade). Summer camps are fun and exciting but they pose a challenge for me because I do not spend the summer preparing for the fall. I have been carving out additional time early in the morning or when I’m eating lunch to think through some fall training materials for my elementary small group leaders. Here’s four C’s that I think will help shape those materials.
Content: The primary focus of a small group is the content, but not just games or questions. Our content will always be Biblically focused. Kids and leaders will read God’s Word. In the era of digital learners, content must have impact, be more than information that can be summoned at a keystroke, and focus on skills (studying God’s Word, applying God’s Word, prayer).
Context: Content is delivered in two environments: small group and large group. These contexts have different purposes. Small groups exist for prayer, building relationships, and to talk about God’s Word. Large group exists for corporate worship and Bible teaching. These contexts have unique flavor and texture. Small groups are more relational, feel small and individual, and eyeball to eyeball, moderate, muted. Large group is a corporate experience, togetherness, part of something bigger and whole, loud, bright.
Connection: A small group leader’s role is to connect to kids through prayer, building relationship, and talking about God’s Word. A small group captain’s role is to connect to small group leaders in this same way. But where do parents fit here? We asked parents to rate their relationship with their child’s small group leader and most indicated that they did not really know the small group leader at all. However, we asked how important that relationship was (parent to small group leader) and most parents indicated that it was not important at all.
Community: KidsWorld is a church. It is not the church of tomorrow, it is the church of today – right now. As such, we are part of bringing children into real, authentic community where they can grow to become more like Christ. As Reggie Joiner comments, Hollywood will always out-produce the church but it cannot do better at the church at creating community.