3 Ways to Check Your Kids Are Connecting
Many adults cherish their time spent with their small groups, as they grant an instant support network in times of need, hold us accountable in times of doubt, and provide friendship in times of loneliness. Kids church small groups allow the same benefits for your youngest members, but how effective are they?
Regular assessment is crucial for guided growth, but small groups for kids can get overlooked. Instead of letting them slip through the net, check them frequently to ensure they are serving their purpose – bringing kids to Jesus while helping them forge genuine connections with one another.
Children aren’t always the best at reflecting on their experiences or communicating them, which makes accurate assessment tricky. Track the trends to discover how effective your church small groups are, so you can continue to better the quality of your kids' church experience.
1. Use a Self-Assessment Questionnaire
Quizzes and surveys are the most efficient way to gain qualitative data on most topics, and this is no exception. Ask your small group leaders to take a step back and consider how each group functions, using question prompts to help guide the assessment process.
Answering them on a scale that gives a number output (i.e., 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree) enables you to study the data and follow the trends with an eagle eye. However, knowing which questions to ask is the hard part. Connectedness to Jesus isn’t that easy to measure.
Use the Leaders in Training 30-question self-assessment sheet to assess your children’s ministry in general. Then, ask the children directly how they feel about their small group peers and their bond with God to cross-check the data and gain an overall view of how the sessions are going.
2. Use an Effective Kids’ Ministry Curriculum
When the sessions are always the same, they feel like a boring extension of school, which turns small groups into a chore for your kids. Ensuring your small groups pique the interest of their young and absorbent minds will encourage feelings of excitement and curiosity around their small group sessions.
Selecting a children’s ministry curriculum provider like Think Orange that includes small group sessions will bring the whole experience together. When the small group guides are crafted in perfect alignment with what’s going on in your kids’ ministry, the dive into deeper questions will feel more natural.
Church for kids is all about creating a coherent understanding of God’s love, so kids of all ages can build a bond with Him independently. Church leaders need to educate children, from preschool to high school, so they have the tools to connect with God for life.
3. Learning Through a Variety of Mediums
Empowering youngsters to feel the love of Jesus is one part of kids’ ministry, but helping them find solace and community within each other is just as important. Through the church, children gain camaraderie with their peers and the comfort of knowing they have a friend by their side.
Use a mixture of activities throughout your small groups to encourage deep connection building. Yes, small group Bible studies and prayer are essential, but what about trust exercises and activities that teach empathy and emotional intelligence? Setting your kids up with the skills to be kind to one another starts by teaching them what it means to be a good friend.
Your kids might miss the mark if your small group sessions don’t include activities dedicated to inspiring friendship, caring, and thoughtfulness. If your children don’t appear to be bonding, ask your small group leaders what activities they have planned recently? Use some of these fun friendship-building games to get the ball rolling.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Children are a gift from God and are naturally inclined to faith. All you need to do is shine a light on the right path, and they will follow it. Jesus and children have a unique bond, so it is down to church leaders to harness this and guide them to life in alignment with the Bible.
Although knowing how effective your small groups are at connecting your kids requires a certain level of communication they might not be able to offer, there are ways of getting around it. If you are struggling to get your kids to open up about their faith, read this blog for tips on how to encourage communication from a young age.
Their age will impact the kinds of questions you ask them, but even preschool kids can answer questions verbally a lot better than you might think. Give them a chance to get their point across by asking questions like “Do you have friends in this group?” or “Do you know that Jesus loves you?” and let your teens answer more complex questions about their experiences.
Their answers may enlighten you with new ways to improve your small groups for kids.