Pitfalls to Avoid in Children’s Small Groups
Lack of vision: Small groups need vision. I’m not referring to a manmade vision. I’m talking about a vision inspired by the Word of God in which children are used mightily to impact nations. I often use the phrase “as with adults,” and I’ll use it again in this blog. As with adults, where the vision is limited or lacking, the momentum and overcoming strategies will be either off target or paralyzing.
Lack of the presence and power of Jesus: Children’s small groups are not about children. Rather, they are about Jesus. He is at the center. He is the reason the group exists. As with adults, when the group is focused on Jesus and is empowered by the Holy Spirit, children have an encounter with the living God.
Lack of training: While we do not want training that cripples because of too many time commitments, those leading children’s small groups need training. Remember that Mario Vegas has more training for those working with children than adults. As with adults, lack of training will leave leaders disempowered and with limited skills to take the vision forward.
Lack of support: Healthy churches have coaching and support systems. As with adults, children’s small groups need the same.
Lack of good group agendas: The agenda is usually the application of the Word of God. Too often children’s material is teacher/pupil focused, rather than a facilitating and empowering one. As with adults, children need agendas that empower them to live out small group values.
Lack of leaders and parental involvement: Sadly, we have made ministering to the next generation a specific calling of a few. Adults are generally unaware that it is a command on the life of every believer (and of every parent), to pass on to their children the great truths of our God. When we grasp this great truth (and it is discussed in the groups), God-given conviction will come and parents and other adults will step forward in obedience to the command of God.
Lack of safety: Remember that all churches ministering to children and young people need a good policy - which is understood by everyone - to keep the next generation safe and to protect adults from accusation. Simply stated, no adult should be alone with a minor. Every leader must know who to report child protection issues to and how to respond to a minor who discloses a child protection issue.