Church culture has been shifting more and more to a small group model. Many churches still have a teaching hour on Sundays and other on-site programming during the week, while even more churches have switched to off-site small groups. What does this mean for kids? This usually means kids have less time at church, but do not have another intentional hour (or more) like their parents experience through small group time during the week.
Our hope as Kids Ministry leaders is that parents are using those extra hours not spent at church to be intentional with their own families. The reality is that I don’t hear a lot about kids doing anything at all during the “small group” hour.
My husband and I have been in multiple small groups (community groups, missional community, home groups, etc). The scenarios presented for our kids during these times have been: take kids and let them watch a movie in the host’s playroom, hire a babysitter to watch all kids at the host home, or hire a babysitter to watch our kids at home. None of those translate to intentional time of kids learning the Bible, hearing the gospel, or developing meaningful relationships like their parents are getting to do during their small group.
I know there are groups out there that have been creative about using small group time as a way for their kids to be fed spiritually. It seems to be the exception, however.
- Kids Ministry leader, how can we equip adult small groups with strategies, materials, models, for how to be intentional with their kids during these times?
- Parent, how can you make it a priority to make up the hour that kids may have had at church some point in time?
I, personally, wrestle with these questions. Let’s work together to find solutions that fit a new church culture, but at the same time give kids what they may be missing such as corporate worship, hearing the gospel, and learning God’s word.
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of Kids Ministry Publishing. Jana brings a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and curriculum writing. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children attend Forest Hills Baptist Church where she teaches The Gospel Project to preteen girls.