Building Community in Children's Ministry

Small groups are an essential part of children's ministry.

During a recent toy repair project at home, I shared the recipe of two-part epoxy glue with my eight-year-old son. "When both clear gels are mixed together, they become super strong." At the time, though, I didn't realize that I had accidentally glued a screwdriver to the table.

Children's ministry also has two key ingredients that, when mixed together, make it "super strong": 1) creative, relevant Bible teaching and 2) community. Teaching tools, techniques, and creative curriculum seem to receive more than their measure of attention. So for now, let's stick with the other key ingredient—community.

Community for kids

"Miss Jamie lets me say stuff without interrupting me. I wish my brother was like that," is why 4-year-old Erin loves the Yellow Team, her Sunday morning small group.

What is community for kids? The simplest formula is to divide your children by age into groups of six or eight, assign a leader, and call it a small group. That's a starting point. But the recipe for real community involves much more.

The world today is a tough place to grow up. The obvious emotional pain of divorce or parental absence, the quiet dilemma of watching hurricanes destroy lives and livelihoods, and persistent peer pressures all mix and stick to kids more than ever. For many kids, safety in life seems non-existent. That is our opportunity.

On Sunday morning, it is possible to offer a place to know and be known, love and be loved, serve and be served. It is possible to be a place where every child is individually treasured and valued—an emotionally safe place. A place where, every week, kids can build healthy bonds and trust with the same kids and same leader. This ...

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