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Tween Small Groups Part 3 – Building Community

So this is part 3 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.

After finding programming structure that worked and seemed to be successful in accomplishing our purposes, it was time to focus on an aspect that is essential to groups: building community.

Community is something that should be searched for and managed throughout your ministry. Acts 2:46-47 provides a great definition of biblical community:

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts shows a few things that we try to work into our groups:

  1. Regular Attendance
  2. Hang Time -structured and unstructured.
  3. Service

Regular Attendance

We talk numerous times about how importance regular attendance is, however talking about it won’t make it stick. We knew that if students were going to attend regularly they would need to know and be known by people. This is why the prayer time that we talked about in the last post was so important. It gives a tween the go ahead to let others know what is happening in their life. I think the number one thing that we did to build community was to take prayer requests as a group. Something about it just set the mood.

Because students began to get to know one another, they began to feel comfortable and so became regular attenders! Our C-Groups attendance rate was absolutely ridiculous when compared with our Sunday Morning attendance rate. I think this is because of the opportunities to get to know other students.

Hang Time

We did program in chill and gather time every Wednesday night, but we also had some just fun nights. Game nights, football, conversations, etc. They became times that students just hung out all night! They were a blast and all of our students enjoyed them. Again, just another way to build relationships.

Service

We also had the opportunity to do a few small in-house service projects. I hope to do this element a bit more next year. We wrote cards to local nursing home residents and we also helped fill our communion bags as well. Simple, projects that our church needed some help with at the time and our students made it happen.

Other Items of Community

I mean there are a ton of other things that built the community of students that we have at Switch. The groups themselves allowed us to dig deeper, the curriculum allowed us to ask questions, and there was food sometimes! Food brings people together, flat out!

But ultimately I feel as if the 3 factors listed above really pulled our students together. Some fringers in our Sunday services became staples at both. Hopefully all of our students begin to see the need for groups for the rest of their lives.

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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.