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Tween Small Groups Part 2 – The Program

So this is part 2 of my series on our first year of our tween small groups. You can view the whole series on our C-groups by clicking here.

So after this program completely overwhelmed me with attendance and the “spirit” of the tweens. I had to immediately program more intently. Now I love to program for a successful program, but I wasn’t sure how to program for 50 tweens to be in small group. I am new at this ya know :)

We had a one hour time slot to fill with about 30 minutes chill and gather time on the front end and about 15 minutes chill and gather time on the backend. I had the ipads and some board games to cover the chill and gather time on the front and back ends, but needed to fill an hour of programming. 

I don’t know if you know this or not, but one hour of strictly small group time with 5th and 6th grade students intently focused is impossible. I will say this again:

If you are expecting your tweens to give you an hour of intense small group time, your expectations are too high.

So what to do. I needed to fill some time. Being the good Southern Baptist that I am, I immediately knew what to do: prayer requests. So we normally spend about 15 minutes taking prayer requests and praying. I can not tell you how much more this was than prayer time, but I’ll let you know in a later post in this series.

Then I would usually take about 10-15 minutes to go over announcements, summarize a lesson, and brag on our tweens. I call this hybrid vision casting. It’s meant to kill some time, add some information, and build a relational connection between students and program. It really works.

Then we would be in groups for about 20 minutes. Discussion/relational connection with students more than teaching something analytical. We used the LIVE curriculum from SYM and it was great. We also did about 10 weeks of Crazy Love DVD Study Resource. Both of which I will talk about in a later post in this series as well.

This structure worked well to get us through this year. We began to work in more organized game times during chill and gather, and we also began to work in some service aspects as well. But that is our programming.

What does your small group programming look like? Homes/Campus/at the church? What do they look like?

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J.C. Thompson is the 5th & 6th Grade Director at Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, SC, one of Outreach magazine’s Top 100 Largest Churches in America.