According to recent research, 18% of churches don’t provide a small group environment for their kids. We know that many of these churches simply do “kids church” or some other large-group offering. While we believe very strongly in large-group corporate worship experiences for kids, we also believe that it is critical for kids to be in smaller groups of community, like Sunday School or Wednesday night kids groups. And, before we dive into it, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the expectations that God places on adult believers is any different that those He places on the young (1 Timothy 4:12).
Here are five reasons that small groups are critical for kids:
1) Small groups are modeled throughout Scripture.
Dozens of other passages point to the importance of community outside the context of corporate worship (including Psalm 133:1, Acts 2:46, and Galatians 6:2). In other words, you might consider that offering small groups to kids is an act of obedience to Scripture.
2) Kids grow with a leader they know.
It’s a little sing songy, but it’s a truth to which virtually every follower of Christ can attest. Kids that regularly attend Sunday school are more likely to have a consistent walk with Jesus. It’s not a fail-safe, but we are talking about beating the odds, aren’t we? Kids small group leaders are that other voice in a kids life.
3) Small groups demonstrate that life is not done in isolation.
Proverbs 27:17 shows that God can work in us through others. Small groups provide accountability. Many adults struggle in their faith because they never learned this principle.
4) Leaders are developed through small groups.
The easiest way for a church to determine what a person’s gifts are, is in a small group. Imagine how effective those kids will be when they are allowed to use their gifts at an earlier age. (Many churches don’t allow kids to serve until they are…well…not kids anymore.) Don’t wait. Develop leadership now.
5) Decisions are made in small groups.
Do you want to go to camp this summer? Would you be interested in serving the church by helper with the younger kids? Here’s the BIG one: Have you considered surrendering your life to Jesus Christ? When kids are in community, these questions are, literally, right before them. Not only that, but the answered are heard.
What is your strategy for small groups for kids?
Interested in learning more about starting small groups in your church? Check out Groups Matter to learning about developing, launching, and feeding small groups — of any age.
Jeffrey Reed serves as the Director of Kids Ministry for Lifeway. He came to Lifeway with a wide variety of ministry experiences including worship leader, director of children’s ministry, and executive leadership in several growing congregations. Jeffrey’s posts will give your heart and brain a workout, just like the fitness Boot Camp he leads in the mornings for Lifeway employees. Jeffrey and his wife Katherine have 4 kids.