The Heartbeat of Children’s Ministry

Wendy Douglas —  November 1, 2010

I believe that small groups are the heartbeat of every children’s ministry worship experience. By no means am I saying that the other aspects of the service aren’t important. I am saying that small groups are where the intimate connections and conversations take place each week.

  • This is the time when a small group leader will talk more about the lesson and how it applies to life and the kids will chat more about it.
  • This is the time when a small group leader will model prayer and the kids will pray for their families and friends as well as each other.
  • This is the time when a small group leader encourages the kids to build relationships with God and others and the kids grow closer to both.
  • This is a time when a small group leader comes alongside parents and reinforces what they are teaching at home and the kids hear that additional voice speaking into their lives.

Small group time is such an important part of each week’s worship experience, and it requires a dedicated and committed volunteer to do it right. It is a time to listen to and love on the kids that we serve each week. What does small group time look like in your children’s ministry?  How do you find the right volunteers to be small group leaders?  What kind of training do you give them?

Wendy Douglas

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Wendy is married to a warrior for the last 18 years and Mom to three boys. She volunteers in KidzPlace at The Gathering Church in Sevierville, TN. She reads almost anything she can get her hands on. In addition to contributing to Kidmin1124, she maintains her own blog called Saved Sister at

7 responses to The Heartbeat of Children’s Ministry

  1. Totally agree about how crucial Small Groups are. We have even used this term “Small Groups” all the way down to infants. We want to stress the importance to parents at a young age.

    Our small group time includes Bible story (more focused on reading the scripture in Elementary-age), crafts, activities, and prayer times.

    Besides summer training, the biggest resource that we have to train volunteers is having them connected with Volunteer Coaches. These Coaches are usually the first point of contact for all programming-type questions and needs from volunteers.

  2. Sorry to post twice, but I thought about this topic later, and wanted to reference a couple of links on our Children’s Ministry Parenting Blog:

    Vision for Preschool Small Groups:

    Model of Ministry:

  3. Joey,

    No reason to apologize for posting twice. We’re glad you’re part of the Kidmin1124 community. Thanks for the insights into how your church does small groups and the links to the resources you posted.

    I hope you will continue to visit the sight and share your insights with us.

    For the record, Wendy rocks and she consistently hits it out the ballpark. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  4. Thanks Joey! I love chatting about small groups and how that looks for everyone! Love the idea of volunteer coaches for sure! Could you tell me more about that? Also doing crafts during your small group time, are you using crafts outlined in curriculum, coming up with your own, finding them?

    Thanks Wayne! I happen to think you rock as well! 🙂

    • Our volunteer coaches are volunteers that are over a set team of volunteers in a specific ministry area. For example, we have Coaches for each service over Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Big Group, Welcome Team. They have responsibility to Administrate (ensure that each area is staffed for their service) and Lead (by being a first point of contact for those volunteers, and even providing a small level of connection / shepherding). This model has been developed and tweaked over the years, and we love it. Basically, when it comes to the weekend service, these volunteers make it happen. It has relieved our staff from a ton of burden. Now, they have the opportunity to work on bigger picture things without worrying about who is teaching each class (for example) for the coming weekend.

      We (mostly volunteers, with staff oversight) have written our own curriculum, for both preschool and elementary, which includes Big Group skits, Small Group lessons, and crafts. Most of the crafts are “borrowed” from other curricula and sites.

  5. My passion!! You can’t have discipleship without small groups. Look how Jesus trained the Apostles – there were the 12 but he spent most of his time with Peter, James and John.

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