Introduction to small group leading
What a privilege it is to disciple the next generation into the plans and purposes that God has for them. As a small group leader you will walk alongside children and watch them grow and mature spiritually as you disciple them in living a life in God’s presence, living out Jesus and drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Your role as a small group leader is one of the most important roles of all. You are NOT a school teacher, NOT a parent and NOT a dictator. You are a discipler! This type of leading is one that Jesus exemplified! Often Jesus taught a large crowd about the principles of Kingdom living. This would be similar to our large group time on a Sunday. More often than not Jesus would then move on from the teaching of the crowds to a quieter place with his disciples. It was in these settings where his disciples could discuss the teachings of Jesus and ask questions about the things they didn’t understand. This is what the small group time is all about! Jesus had a small group of 12 which He drew close to and built strong relationships with. At Uptown we prefer to have small groups consisting of 6-8 children and a leader!
The role of the small group leader is NOT to teach the message again but to rather facilitate discussions and questions about the message that was taught in the large group setting. This will only take place if the children find themselves in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable to share. It is essential that as a small group leader you create this environment by building relationally with the children in your group. When they interact with you they need to see Jesus. You need to have a listening ear, a willingness to share your own experiences, a servant heart, and unconditional love for them and above all else you need to pray for them and with them.
If you are up to the challenge it is a rewarding one! But it is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a commitment that goes beyond Sunday meetings. Discipling cannot happen only on a Sunday. If this is where God has called you then read on!
What are you called to be?
A person who disciples others should lead by example. We are disciples of Jesus because we try to follow the way that Jesus lived His life! If we as small group leaders ask ourselves what qualities we would like to see grow in the children we disciple then those are the qualities we need to have!
PASSIONATE: Jesus was passionate about the people He taught. He was also passionate about the Word of God. Every time we are with the kids they need to see that we are on fire for Jesus and catch hold of it.
PREPARED: Children know when you are not prepared! When you are unprepared it says to them that they are not important! Preparation goes beyond reading through the material in the curriculum – it is going before God and asking Him to give you things to speak to the individuals in your group. Preparation is putting in the time – throughout the week in prayer and practice not just on Saturday evening!
PRAYER-FILLED: The amount of time set aside in building your own relationship with Father God will determine the measure of your ability to minister effectively. Pray often for yourself, pray often for the children you lead.
APPROACHABLE: Wherever Jesus went, there were people who wanted to be around him. The children need to feel like they can approach you on anything. You are God’s best visual aid! Your body language, your facial expressions your words, your tone, your attitude are all very important. Do you shine Jesus?
TEACHABLE: A good teacher must be a good student. Ask yourself if you love the scriptures the way you want your children to. Are you practicing what you preach in life? Are you open to new ideas? Do you strive to improve on your teaching skills? You will find in the appendix different ways and skills to help bring across the message!
How do Sundays run?
The Sunday meetings are divided into both small group and large group times – as seen below. Essentially a theme will run throughout the meeting and at each stage in the Sunday meeting an objective and bottom line will be reinforced.
You as a small group leader are essential at every stage in the Sunday meeting.
Punctuality is essential! You need to be at your table/zone/area before the children arrive. First impressions last and a smiling, welcoming face who invites a child, especially a visitor, to join them in their ‘family’ is more likely to get a child to open up and come back again than a leader who rocks up late! Being there before children arrive builds trust and provides opportunities for children to open up. It really shows that they are important
KickStart: This takes place after the children enter the room and before any “formal” activity begins. It is an opportunity to build relationally with the children in your group, find out how they are doing and how their weeks went. You may like to introduce the theme of the day through strategic questioning and or activity.
Refuel: You are still involved in the large group times. Keep your group together and stay with them during ice-breakers, worship and story-telling time. This builds trust and family in your group, especially for visitors who are not sure what is happening next. Your children are watching how you worship Jesus and how you listen to His Word. Take note of teachable moments. Pray and wait on the Lord for a prophetic word for the children and ask that God would highlight things to discuss from the story in your small group time.
X-celerate: Move with your group to your zone/table/area.
The X-Celerate time corresponds to the home group time in the adult setting whereby relationships are built, people are encouraged and cared for and the Sunday preach is discussed and thrashed out.
In the Appendix of this manual you can find different skills and techniques that may help you to work through the theme in innovative and creative ways!
This small group time should in essence include:
• questions and discussion about the message
• application of the message, tying the message into own context
• time for sharing and prayer
• going over the memory verse
It is essential to remember throughout the meeting that we run a Jesus-centred curriculum. When we are ministering to the children, when we are discussing the story/scriptures or situations we need to be purposeful in making sure that Jesus is involved!
If Jesus is not brought into your kickStart time, is not preached in the story or discussed in the small group X-celerate time then these Sunday meetings will be pointless.
Our meetings need to be Jesus-centred. Jesus needs to be glorified and the children need to know at the end of a meeting that:
• they can put their trust and faith in Him
• and that the Holy Spirit makes them Holy.
APPENDIX 1: Lesson preparation
There are a number of areas that need to be considered in your lesson preparation. It is not just about reading through the curriculum and pitching up on a Sunday.
Know your children in your group:
Firstly, you must know where the children in your group are spiritually, and where they are at in life. This is only possible if you build with the children in your group relationally. The kickStart times at the beginning of the meetings are an important time to do this. Ask them questions about themselves and their weeks, what you can pray for during the week for them and follow up with a phone call during the week if children are dealing with specific issues. You need to know the individuals so that you can identify areas that you can disciple and teach into – every small group will be different!
Lesson preparation cannot be done without prayer. Our Father in Heaven knows what our children need more than what we do! He provides the wisdom we need to disciple the children but building relationally with the children in the group will help in this regard.
Praying for the children shouldn’t just happen on a Saturday night while preparing for Sunday. We should be praying for them during the week. It is during this time that God will lay things in your heart for them – prophetic words, encouragements, testimonies of your own life to share with them. Preparation takes time and God loves it when we wait on Him for His precious ones.
Prayer is the primary preparation. The curriculum is just a guide. God might want to do something different to the curriculum with your group but you will only know this if you have spent time in prayer. It is essential to remember in preparing for Sunday that your role is to disciple throughout the kickStart, large group time and small group time. There is a theme that runs throughout and your role is to tie them together and present the gospel in an environment that is non-threatening but altogether irresistible!
It is therefore important to read through the stories and scriptures around it as well as the small group activity so that you are able to bring continuity and reinforcement throughout the Sunday meeting. Reading through the curriculum should be done at the beginning of the week so that you have time to think about how the children will respond to the story, what areas you can discuss around, what you can bring to better help them understand (newspaper articles, quotes, jokes, illustrations, stories from your life, object lesson, building something) and most of all what God wants to say to your specific children. You will only be able to do this if you have time!
We have put into the curriculum a bottom line for each week. This is essentially where you begin. The bottom line is what we want the children to walk away with at the end of the day. They will only be able to remember and apply this to their lives if they have had an opportunity to really wrestle with it, pull it apart and discover what it really means and what it means to them and to others – this is your role in the small group time to help facilitate this process. Otherwise it is merely a statement at the end of the day which is soon forgotten. Ask yourself in your preparation:
• What stood out for you in the story?
• What could you take from that story to apply to your own life?
• What questions might the children have from the story?
• How could they apply this to their lives?
• What topics or real life situations could you take from the story and discuss?
• How can you apply the bottom line and scriptures practically to your life and theirs?
APPENDIX 2: How to engage kids
Kids want you to be real with them! They don’t want you to be a buddy they want you to be someone they can follow! They want to know that you haven’t got it all together and you don’t have all the answers. They want to hear that you have struggles that you have been able to overcome and how you overcame them! Deep down they want to know how to come to know Jesus. You are an ambassador of Jesus. When they see you they must see how Jesus spoke, behaved and loved. They must see the power of the Holy Spirit working through your life.
I can’t stress enough that the extent to which you are able to engage with the children in your group depends on how well you know the children and how well you build relationally with them. You will not get children opening up if they have not built a trust relationship with you. Sometimes, you have groups that are tough to break through barriers and there are differences also with different age groups and cultural groups in how they respond and participate. The key is to try new strategies and learn from other leaders past and present.
Place yourself in the children’s shoes and think about how they would like to be engaged. Nobody likes to be picked on or put on the spot in a group setting but at the same time every child needs to have an opportunity to be heard and listened to. Here are a few tips to help initiate discussions.
1. Start by dipping into a bag and pulling out a number. The number they pull out is the order in which they each have a turn to speak for that day. There must be no pressure to speak if they don’t want to.
2. Make use of a brightly coloured baton and make a rule that only the person holding the baton may speak. They have to ask for permission from you to hold the baton.
3. Sometimes it may be useful to get the others in the group to relay what someone else in the group has just said. This encourages active listening and participation.
4. Make use of the dice in the box to encourage children to talk. Have a sheet of paper with various pictures or topics or themes covered in the last few weeks or months. Put a number next to each topic. Each child gets to roll the dice and has to make a comment about that topic corresponding with the number that they have thrown.
5. Pass a bag around on which different subjects for conversation are written. Each child gets a turn to pull out a topic and has to say something about the topic or make just a comment.
Different age groups:
Safari Park (ages 4-6):
The attention span of this age is fairly short. Someone once said that the age of a child is generally an indication of the number of minutes you can hold their attention. This makes this age group a tricky one. They generally will focus intensely on one thing at a time for short periods of time. In most instances when children are busy with an activity they will not respond to any discussion or questions. Safari Park children need a number of short activities to do. The discussion / question time is often done well with the use of a puppet. This age group engages very well with puppets especially if they are funny and tell interesting stories in an unusual way. Another way to help with discussion is in the format of a game. Pass the ball to someone and ask them a question or everybody who thinks this is the right answer stand up or put your hands on your head. The children in this age group love crafts but this can’t take place at the same time as discussion time. The crafts are reinforcement and something to take home to help stimulate them to remember what they learnt and talked about in the Sunday meeting.
These age groups also enjoy crafts related to the theme. These children generally are capable of listening and discussing while they are busy with an activity. It is therefore useful to have an activity which helps to unpack the theme of the day.
There are a wide variety of children within these categories. Some of the tips on page 8 might help you with initiating discussion. Some individuals love crafts, others don’t. But remember that the small group time is not about doing an activity it is about engaging children in discussion. With some age groups this is hard work and will take perseverance and using different strategies. Some groups are shy, others more outspoken and some are just too cool to participate! Know the characters in your group and work out what strategy will best assist in initiating discussion.
Try new things! Predictability is boring. If you capture their attention in the first 5 minutes you will keep their attention. The element of surprise often works well. A few things you could try:
1. Placing an interesting or unusual picture in the middle of the table and ask them what they think.
2. Bring out a number of seemingly unrelated objects and ask them what all the objects have in common.
3. Object lessons work well (see appendix)
4. Role plays with the older grades (see appendix)
5. Telling a story from your life helps children to be vulnerable if you have been vulnerable
6. Interesting statements said by famous people
7. For shy individuals get them to write down answers rather than speak them and ask if they or you would like to read it out.
8. Change the environment periodically – one leader took his group of boys and climbed a tree with them and discussed around the topic in the tree.
9. Take them for a prayer walk around the church buildings.
APPENDIX 3: Learning process and different
“Attention makes us receptive for information which we process together with prior knowledge, until we reach conclusions and understand things, which we then apply and test for confirmation”
We learn things all the time, very often spontaneously and without making an effort. If we become more aware of how we learn spontaneously we can improve our (kids) ability to learn consciously, or to plan in a more formal learning situation (like Uptown on a Sunday).
How the learning process happens:
Activation of prior knowledge, kids engaged, made receptive, stimulated curiosity.
Kids only receptive if information satisfies their expectations (not too much, too simple, too complex). If meaningful they will keep listening. New info is stored temporarily in short term memory.
Intellectual processing; “brain work”; most important stage; kids compare existing knowledge with this new information trying to find links and relationships; kids often stop and look up to give processing time to work; connection between old and new information.
Brain searches for meaningful associations; when relationships between things becomes clearer kids experience an “Aha” moment – new knowledge is formed; these “meaningful associations” of info are stored in long term memory; experience is transferred into knowledge; leaders should try and provide kids with opportunities to associate new information with their existing knowledge.
Once obtained new knowledge, kids apply their knowledge in some way; this process usually results in new learning experiences; application reinforces and internalizes the knowledge stored in long-term memory; application and practice ensure knowledge will be easier to call up from long-term memory in future (7-day challenge)
Different learning styles:
Each child is different! Kids learn primarily in 3 different ways and most kids will have at least one dominant learning style.
1. Auditory (hearing)
2. Visual (seeing)
3. Kinesthetic (get kids physically involved)
How much do students retain?
• 10% of what they read
• 26% of what they hear
• 30% of what they see
• 50% of what they see and hear
• 70% of what they say
• 90% of what they say as they do something!
APPENDIX 4: Using questioning
This appendix contains information used in training teachers in techniques of questioning and is here to enhance small group leaders ability to connect and engage with kids.
We want kids to think critically about their life, their values and what the Bible has to say about how they should live their lives. It is therefore important that we have a basic understanding of how learning takes place (the process of learning), the different levels of thinking and also the skills required in questioning (provoking thought and discipleship).
Levels of thinking:
We want kids to make judgements regarding certain things, make wise choices, thinking skills for everyday life. Recalling of “information” is not sufficient for success in life. We should be stimulating kids to think on different levels. The way we structure our questions will determine at what levels we are getting the kids to think and respond. Below is a table outlining the different levels of thinking and the types of questioning that will encourage the different levels of thinking. The first three levels are lower order thinking skills. The fourth, fifth and sixth levels are higher order thinking skills. All six levels can be developed at all age groups from Safari Park to Grade 7’s.
Level Description Types of questions
1. Knowledge Simply knowing facts or information; memorize and reproduce in same form as was presented; a basic pre-requisite for thinking on all other levels. Where, who, when, how much, name, list
2. Understanding Understand information and formulate in own words; translate, interpret and extrapolate information Why, compare, explain, describe, distinguish
3. Application Apply previously acquired knowledge to new situations which differ from originally acquired How would you, demonstrate, explain how, solve
4. Analysis Breaking up of information into component parts; determine how these parts are connected to each other. Identify; find the cause, distinguish, analyse, determine.
5. Synthesis Add information to make a new set of information; arrive at a new conclusion; the whole is more than the sum of the parts. plan; formulate; suggest’ what would happen if
6. Evaluation Evaluation of information; well-reasoned judgements; forming opinions on certain information by using criteria (bible truth or values?) substantiate opinions Evaluate, judge, decided, choose, select the best, which of the following
These levels are what we call scaffolding (like a ladder). Each higher level builds on the one below. One cannot understand if he doesn’t have the knowledge and likewise one can’t analyse if he does not understand.
In structuring your questions on a Sunday in your small group time you must plan your questions to first see if they have the knowledge and understanding then building up to questions which help the kids to analyse and evaluate.
Having questions that only give yes or no answers are not helpful if you are wanting kids to think for themselves about truths and situations. Likewise having questioning which only touches on the lower levels of thinking will quickly leave the kids bored and will not be leading into the deeper things that God has for them. Remember your kids can’t live out their faith through you – they need to discover and develop their own relationship with God the Father.
Planning your questions:
This bit of information regarding questioning will “most certainly” help you to become better at asking more effective questions of kids. The way in which a question is asked is often just as important as the question itself.
1. Plan your questions: Even though we ask questions “on the fly” we should have questions thought through and planned in advance (you know you’re heading in a certain direction).
2. Put questions to the whole group, without looking at any specific kid. Present it to the whole group to think it through then direct a question to a specific person (by name if you need their focus)
3. Avoid unnecessary repetition. Rather ask another kid if the first can’t answer. Do not replace one question with another before waiting 3-5 seconds.
4. Allow waiting time: kids need time to think about a question requiring a complex answer. Practice waiting. Don’t demand an immediate response or wait too long when kids may become restless.
5. Try not to answer your own questions: unless kids can’t answer correctly or take too long.
6. Don’t bombard kids with questions.
7. Avoid situations where kids all answer in unison.
8. Ask questions which target different levels of thinking (see table)
9. Ask penetrating questions: require further explanation or defending their answer.
10. Set the question so that it conveys your interest in a kids answer: make eye contact and give the question a personal flavour. e.g. “What would you say James?”
11. Ask all kids questions: not just the eager ones.
Types of question:
• Open questions (leads to discussion):
What do you think will happen if…?”
• Follow-up questions: (dig more deeply, reconsider their position etc):
Can you tell us a bit more about your suggestion?
• Closed questions:
Close or end a discussion “yes” or “no’ answers
• “Empowering questions: give kids confidence.
Can you repeat what we have seen here today?
• Confrontational questions: force kids to address matters they’re trying to avoid or find difficult.
Can you identify the mistake you’re making…?
What is preventing you from….?
APPENDIX 5: Using object lessons
Jesus used object lessons to teach the people about spiritual truths. Of course we know these better as the parables – same concept but different name!
Jesus was an expert at using everyday objects that we can physically see, touch, taste and hear to help explain spiritual and heavenly truths. If it worked for Jesus it will most definitely work for us as leaders.
What is an object lesson?
An object lesson is a lesson or message that is built around an object. An object lesson is used for its association to a bible truth.
“A magnet attracting nails can be associated with the love of Jesus in our hearts reaching out and attracting other people to God.”
Why use object lessons?
Object lessons or object talks as they are sometimes called are a powerful visual tool that can be used in lessons to help stimulate interest and long-term retention of what kids have learnt. Everyday objects do more than add interest to what is being learnt, they also serve as a constant reminder of the lesson and its application when the object is seen again.
How to find object lessons
There are a number of websites that you could look at to find object lessons related to certain topics – a few have been provided below. Otherwise do as Jesus did. Look around you and open your physical and spiritual eyes to see what the Holy Spirit can say to us through everyday objects.
You can use any objects but everyday items and simple objects are often the easiest to use and the most useful.
Look around the house and see how many objects you can spot that could help bring understanding to a spiritual truth. Practice makes perfect! As you begin to ask God what He can say through an object you will be amazed at how fruitful object lessons can be in your small group times.
Some websites where you can find some object lessons:
APPENDIX 6: Using role-plays
This particular strategy for small group time works particularly well for the older grades but can work well at all age group levels provided it is structured well.
Although it is mostly outworked by the kids it requires careful planning, preparation and facilitating by the leader. What this type of small group strategy brings is a different way to discover and analyse feelings, attitudes, values and responses when faced with specific issues. Such role-playing usually enables kids to predict their response to future and similar challenges that may arise. Role-plays also provide an opportunity to discover feelings, attitudes and responses from another person’s point of view.
When preparing a role-play one should be clear what your goal is. There may be a number of solutions to the situation that is being presented and thus in preparing the role-play you should think about and structure the role-play in such a way that it accomplishes your goal. At the same time you must be prepared to facilitate if the role-play moves in a different direction to what you planned.
Leaders task during role-play:
• In preparing a role-play the leader must have a purpose – otherwise it is just an entertaining drama
• You must provide a supportive role
• Allocate role to the kids according to their ability so that no-one might be belittled by the role-play
• Supervise what happens during the role-play
• Give clear instructions to the participants – they need to know how they must perform the role-play.
• Observe and take note of points that come to light during the role-play that you can help facilitate afterwards.
• Facilitate feedback and discussion afterward with your small group using key points that you picked up while observing the role-play.
Appendix 7: Memorizing memory verses
“Fix these words of mine in your heart and minds, tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them to your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames on your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11:18-20
The Word of God is living and active and it is the Word of God that our children will draw on when faced with situations and choices in their lives. How will they be able to draw on this wellspring of wisdom and life if they have not fixed it in their hearts and minds? This is the difficult part. Repeating a memory verse verbally over and over may help retain it for a period of time but it is when a child finds the feelings behind the verse that you will help in the understanding and retention of the Word of God. In order for the word to be retained the Word needs to be applied and practiced. It needs to be reinforced.
The curriculum includes a memory verse for the month. Use the first week to introduce the verse, read the verse, and explain the verse. Ask the kids how they can apply the memory verse in their lives. In subsequent weeks use a different method to help memorize the verse and review it. Every week chat about how the kids in your group might have applied the memory verse the previous week / when did they recall other memory verses in different situations.
There a number of different ways that you can employ to help children learn memory verses. Making it fresh, imaginative and interesting is a good place to start.
Here are some fun ideas:
• Jigsaw Puzzle
Before the group time have the memory verse copied onto card, coloured and cut into jigsaw pieces. Have the children in groups put the puzzle together. First one with the completed verse is the winner.
• Overhead pictures
Draw pictures pertaining to the memory verse on sheet of card or find pictures to put on data projector. Teach them what each picture means.
• Scripture scramble
Write the scripture on card and cut out the words or phrases. Paste a strip of Velcro on the back of each piece. Scramble the words and put on a felt board. Then see who can decipher it first. Don’t forget to let them repeat it a few times.
• Sing it
Use the army way – sing and repeat.
There are so many crafts that can be done to elaborate scripture. “Take home” things are always a hit if they have a purpose and meaning.
• Picture this
Write a scripture, but in place of certain words, put pictures.
• Give rewards
Give rewards for the children who can remember the scripture from the previous week. Make a fuss of them. Use discretion – some children do have learning disabilities.
• Memory verse chairs
Play musical chairs, but instead of using music, let the children repeat the memory verse and then find a chair. If it becomes too noisy then they must do it in slow motion.
• Action it
Work together as a group to put actions to the memory verse that make it more meaningful to the kids.
The leader says part of the verse then stops and sits down. The kids pop up say the next word and then leader continues. This could be changed each week as kids learn the verse better. You could get the kids to sit in a circle and pop up one after the other saying two words at a time and sitting down followed by the next person.
• Ping pong
Use a ball or bean bag and get the kids to sit in a circle. They throw the ball/beanbag to someone else in the circle as they say the words to the memory verse.
Bring objects associated with some of the words in the memory verse to help trigger the memory of the verse.
• Crossing the river
Cut out paper stones and write the words of the verse on each stone. Muddle them up across an imaginary river. Group has to get to the other side but has to work together at putting it in the right order before anyone can cross.
APPENDIX 9: Discipline
Start how you mean to go on! Kids love boundaries and need to know what is expected of them! An unruly kid that is disrupting the small group time is ruining it for others and making it hard for you too. A great idea before you start is to sit with your group that you are with and draw up some “rules” together with them. Ask the kids for the rules. Explain to them that for everyone to have fun and to be able to enjoy the small group time some guidelines need to be in place as to what is expected of them. Come up with a funky term to call the ‘rules of behaviour’. Start off the brainstorm with something like “we won’t talk when someone else is talking” or “one person is to talk at a time”. Explain to them that there are consequences to the breaking of rules. Ask the kids what actions should be taken if the ‘rules’ are broken.
Here are a few tips of what to do if a child becomes disruptive and is ruining the time with the other kids.
1. Remind them of the guidelines that were drawn up.
2. Explain that they have broken the “rules of engagement”
3. The best thing to do in a small group context is to remove them from the action and put them away from the group. Place a chair away from the small group facing away from the group and give the child some time out. Keep them close enough to monitor.
4. Give them about 5-10minutes and then bring them in again, close to you. Put an arm around them to indicate all is forgiven and forgotten.
5. Repeat offenders need to be kept back after the group time to chat to. Try and find out if there is any possible stuff going on at home that may be contributing to the behaviour.
6. Get parents details from the registration team and phone or get your leader/site-captain/ elder to phone on your behalf.
7. Place “the trouble-makers” next to you during small group time.
8. Give the trouble-makers a job to do. Sometimes when you give them responsibility they become your allies not your obstacles.
9. Work on a principle of positive re-enforcement rather than disciplining bad behaviour. ie: reward good behaviour such as giving sweets or stickers to the kids who stuck to the guidelines that week. Don’t feel bad for not giving the perpetrators a sweet. Do it randomly rather than as a habit.
10. Star/sticker charts are useful in encouraging good behaviour. Kids respond better to positive feedback – encouraging when they have behaved and participated well rather than punishing bad behaviour. Chat to your site-captain if you are wanting to start a sticker chart with rewards treats after a certain number of stickers.
APPENDIX 10: Discipling during the week
The extent to which you trust, respond and receive from someone is determined by how much interest and time that person interacts with you. A small group leaders role does not end on a Sunday. You will learn on Sundays what issues your group is dealing with at school or at home, what they worry about, what they are looking forward to, what their hopes and dreams are. What a privilege to be able to intercede for them during the week in prayer.
When opportunities arise it is up to you to determine what you do with them. Make sure that you have the contact details of the kids in your group. You have no idea the far reaching impact that you may have on a child by contacting them for their birthday or wishing them well for tests or challenges they face the week ahead.
Make a note if one of your kids is vulnerable about something with you to help you remember to ask them how they are and how they are coping. Remember to always follow up on a Sunday if you haven’t managed to contact them about it during the week. A child who has been vulnerable about an issue and has not been cared for and ignored is likely not open up again!
Everyone thrives on words of encouragement. A kid who has participated well or who suddenly stands out in their actions or behaviour should be encouraged. Nothing puffs a child up more (and parent for that matter) than when their parent is encouraged about their child. Get to know the parents. Phone them periodically and work with them when discipling the kids in your group through different situations.
Remember the more time you put into their lives the more God can work through you. Pray for them often, risk expecting deeper things from them, give them your time and you will see God take them through the valleys and into the victories, plans and purposes He has for them!