Now I’ve been working on this stuff for awhile. I really hope this helps someone out there. I want to take a few blog posts to really point out some of the things that we looked at when we started Switch, our 5th and 6th grade ministry here at Brookwood Church. I’ll call it Gap Analysis, if you will. The reality is that there are huge gaps that exist between these two ministries. And those gaps effect both kids and parents. I think if you really took the time to analyze some of the gaps between your ministries that are in sequential order, then I think it might bring collaboration to a new level and a level of continuity to families for the long haul. Had to steal it Sam
Here’s our goal: to reduce the gap and figure out a way to either bridge it or provide some stepping stones for families to take smaller leaps rather than a big one.
There are a few gaps that really stood out in our context. So now for the first gap: Small Groups
Kids are checked into small groups. The small group leader is usually the second or third person that the kid sees. They also are dropped off by their parents and so the small group leaders also have interactions with parents as well. Then after about 5 minutes past the beginning of service time the kids are called into large group service. Large Group lasts around 30 minutes and then kids are dismissed back to their small group classrooms. Activities and discussion happen until kids are picked up by their parents from their classroom.
Jr. High Breakdown
We have a student building on campus called the South Campus or SoCam by the students. Kids are usually dropped off in the parking lot and are checked in at a desk we have at the front. Then they are free to hang (play ping pong, video games, foosball, eat at the cafe, or just chill) until the service begins. After about a 45 minute service they are broken down into small groups and then discussion happens. Then they are let go from small groups and they chill again until their parents arrive in their car to pick them up.
So after the Breakdown you can see the very different setup of our two programs. Both are very effective by the way. But different. So looking at the graphic above there are really three things that we saw as different. Time-Place-When small group happens. Those three things are the big gaps. For us the two that are the biggest priority are time and place. These will provide kids the stepping stones that we need, God willing, in order to transition them from Kidmin to Jr. High successfully.
What we do:
Just a quick breakdown of where we are at now in Switch, at least for now.
- 10-15 minutes of Small Group at least.
- Looking at doing a small group rewind (recap of series) with more time for small group.
- Girls small group in rooms. Boys in Large Group.
- We have chill time in large group beginning and end like Jr. High
- We do small groups midweek and are really pushing for kids to get involved here. They happen in homes an at church on Wednesdays.
Small groups to me are the fabric of growth and connection. They are a must have not a secondary inclusion. But we, those in preteen ministry, must begin to look at how we can help prepare families for the next stage of our ministry, but not overwhelm them with such huge amounts of change.
More to come.