Last week, I shared that I was coaching one of our elementary small group leaders in effectively leading her group. (If you missed that post, you can read all about that here.)
This past Sunday, I sat in on the group again and saw something AMAZING. The entire atmosphere in the group had been transformed – for the better. Here’s what I observed:
A new routine was established.
Last week, I suggested that the leader establish a routine when the children arrive to the group after the large group teaching time. She determined the following routine: When you come to the small group area, grab your Bible and circle up on the floor. So this week, the children who were there the week prior did just that – amazing! Of course, the children who weren’t there didn’t know what to do but that takes me to my next observation…
The routine and simple guidelines were reviewed.
She asked me to review the routine and the guidelines with the group of nine children. I began by praising the children who remembered what they were supposed to do when they came to the small group area. Then I explained the routine to the children who were absent the week prior and why this routine was being implemented.
Then I explained the guidelines, which we’ve intentionally kept short, sweet and simple:
- Respect the adult in charge. (I gave examples of what that looked like.)
- Respect the other people in your group. (I gave examples of this too.)
I briefly explained the ‘whys’ behind the guidelines. All in all, this took about two minutes to explain. This wise investment of time made for a more calm, pleasant environment even though more children were present this week.
The Bible story was reviewed in a more engaging way.
The leader did a fabulous job engaging the children while reviewing the story. She asked great questions (mentioned here). She also kept children engaged by regularly referring to them by name.
The leader was more aware of when it was time to change things up a bit.
Because the children were more within her eyesight, she was able to notice when children were getting restless. When she noticed this, she changed things up a bit. How? Read on…
The children were able to move around after the discussion time.
Last week, I suggested that the children get up and move around after the discussion time on the floor. She had them complete their journal activity at the table before doing a Bible verse activity at the whiteboard. It was very effective. Changing up the ‘scenery’ came at just the right time because she was more aware – and prepared.
The leader was more confident.
I wish you could have been there. Her voice was surer and her posture more upright. She was prepared with her ‘cheat sheet”. She was more relaxed. Her body language screamed, “I can do this!” It was such a God-thing to see this after just one week.
My goal in coaching this sweet leader was to not only help the children have a great time but also to help her strengthen her leadership muscles. I think she’s on the right track! Moving forward, I suggested that she:
1. Take time at the beginning of each session to briefly review the guidelines.
2. Have fidgety children sit on either side of you or directly across from you. This will allow you to correct behavior with a gentle hand on a shoulder or eye contact.
3. Sit where you can see the clock. This will help you keep track of time. (Note: There is no clock in this leader’s area, but there will be next week!)
4. Break up your 30 minutes into three 10-minute segments.
5. Build anticipation for next week with comments like, “I can’t wait to see you again next week!” or “Next week, we’ll ____. I hope to see you then!” or “If you come next week, you’ll hear more about ____.”
Now it’s your turn to share…How do you coach your small group leaders to lead effectively? Post your tips below!