One regular concern that I am asked about when it comes to Activate (semester-based) Small Groups is “how do we handle childcare?”
Recently, my friend Roy Mansfield (Small Groups Pastor at Northstar Church in Panama City) shared some of his thoughts and best practices on how to best accommodate the children of Small Group participants.
He gave me permission to re-print his insights AND to share some of their documents with you:
We have a large number of children in our church. I’ve found that there are several issues that are often viewed as challenges but are really wonderful opportunities to have a much more effective small group.
We have a handout (see below) that we give to our small group leaders of different possible child care options that they can use as a tool to decide how their group will take care of the children in their group.
The first time the group meets together they see the makeup of the children and their ages. The leader leads the group to decide how they will take care of the children. I equip the leaders to look at the makeup of the physical home and children and then suggest the best way to care for the children.
This is s fantastic opportunity for the group! The first time they meet together they have the opportunity to find a way to work together to care for one another. Leaders also have a sign up sheet (see below) that is used to give people the opportunity to take turns to watch the kids (if that’s the way they choose to care for the kids).
We also have groups do outreaches together. They all serve together at least once a semester in a Sunday service as well. As you will see from the sign up sheet we try to give as many people as possible a responsibility in the group. This transfers ownership to the group members as much as possible.
We do allow group leaders to list their group as “all children welcome” “unable to accommodate preschool children” or “unable to accommodate children” but we encourage as many groups as possible to be open to accommodate all children. See below for a sample groups list that we give to everyone to choose a group.
I hope this is a help.
Great thoughts – Here are those documents:
- Group Sign Up – Snacks, Childcare, Host Home (.doc)
- Small Group Childcare Options (.doc)
- Small Group Catalog (.pdf)
Thanks so much Roy!
P.S. To learn more about how to effectively implement small groups at your church (regardless of the setting) check out The Small Group Intensive.
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