One of the advantages to Sunday morning groups that meet at the church building is that Preschool and Children’s age-graded Sunday School are offered at the same time. For churches that choose to have groups in homes there are many options to consider for “what to do with the kids.”
Option 1 – Classes for children can be offered at the church building. Parents drop off their kids at the building and then go to the home where their small group meets. This option works well when all the small groups meet on the same evening and are in close proximity to the church.
Option 2 – Each family arranges their own child-care at their home while they go to small group. Many churches reimburse families for this expense. One of the advantages for this option is that families can choose their own “sitter” and the kids stay in their normal evening and bedtime routines.
Option 3 – A small group hires “sitters” to keep their children at the same home where the small group meets but in another room (think basement or playroom).
Option 4 – Members of the small group rotate and take turns taking care of the children each week. One of the advantages to options 3 & 4 is that the children are onsite in case the parents are needed.
Option 5 – Small groups work together so that members of one group take care of kids from another small group and then they swap roles later in the week. One of the advantages of this option is that there is no cost involved, just extra coordination between groups.
There are several other thoughts to remember when planning “what to do with the kids.”
1 – Remember that it’s not just young adult groups that may need these services as many grandparents are raising their grandchildren in their homes. Therefore, they may need child-care.
2 – Remember to use safe and secure practices when considering children’s activities. Whether or not children are at the church building, churches and small groups need to adhere to the two-adult rule, background checks, and other security measures the church has adopted in their Safety and Security Policies.
3 – Remember to make the children’s time an intentional part of the overall programming. Rather than having just sitters or child-care, let it be an intentional time of Bible study or discipleship for the kids as well as the adults. There are several different Children’s Bible Study plans that could be used. For older children there are great bible skills activities the kids would enjoy. At the very least families can download Bible study apps on their electronic devices so that the children can learn or build on what they have already learned. When churches are intentional to meet the needs of the children through quality Bible study while the parents are meeting more families will be attracted to the small group.
One final thought – look around your community to find unchurched families. It may be an ethnic group, a subdivision, an apartment complex, or mobile home area. Why not start a Backyard Kids Club that meets once a week? As you attract the children you may find the nucleus for a new Adult Small Group.
Whatever choice you make for the kids – be sure you are intentional in making sure their needs are met and that you are reaching out to your community.
Jenni Carter is a state Sunday School/Small Group missionary for the Georgia Baptist Convention, specializing in children’s ministry. www.gabaptistgroups.org