This past Sunday, I sat in on one of our elementary small groups. For the next few weeks, I will be coaching one of our leaders on how to effectively lead her group by (1) best utilizing her time – she has 30 minutes, (2) redirecting behavior, and (3) facilitating discussion. I thought I’d share the highlights of how I encouraged her to facilitate discussion with her group. I really want to see this leader succeed but she told me, “I really want the children to succeed, too.”
One challenge of teaching elementary children is that there is a good chance that they’ve heard the Bible story that is being taught on any given Sunday. So how can you make it come alive in fresh, engaging ways? Since the context of our conversation was pertaining to small groups vs large group teaching time, the question became how can we help these children see and process the story in more meaningful, personal ways?
I gave this sweet leader some tips on how to do this. When it’s time to review or discuss the Bible story, ask:
- Was there anything that surprised you in today’s story?
- Did you learn anything new?
- If you could ask God one question about today’s story, what would you ask?
- What do you think is the most important thing you should remember about this story?
- How does this story make you feel closer to God?
- Is there anything you need to start/stop doing because of this story?
- What did you feel as you read/heard/saw/acted out this Bible story?
These questions go beyond children giving the ‘right’ answers and help them really think about what the story means to them.
You can also find creative ways to ask those questions.
- Put questions on a cube or spinner, have kids draw a number and those whose number matches the one the teacher calls gets to roll or spin.
- Place 2 or 3 colors in a bag. Have kids draw a color and then their color will dictate what to do activity-wise.
- Review/discuss and get the wiggles out by tossing around a beach ball with questions written or taped on them.
Kidmin Leaders: How do you coach your small group leaders to facilitate discussion?
Small Group Leaders: What questions do you ask to help children process and apply the Bible story to their lives?