Big Trouble in Small Groups

A pastor offers practical advice for the top three hurdles of church small groups: childcare, commitment, and over-talkers.

“Let’s take a few minutes to pray together.” [SCREAMS. CRYING. YELLING.] “On second thought, we gotta go. It’s Mia’s nap time.”

The idea of a church small group sounds great in theory. But week by week, it can be frustrating. Maybe in your small group, the kids outnumber the adults. Or you never know who is going to show up. Or you squirm in your seat every time John gets on a soapbox.

I’ve been a pastor for 14 years, and for 6 of those years, I’ve been directly involved in small group ministry, where I hear about the same practical obstacles time and time again. Below are the three most frequent questions I’m asked and some options for addressing these challenges in your church.


This is the biggest hurdle that small group leaders and members face: What do we do with our young kids? There’s no easy answer, but here are several workable ideas.

Pitch in for a sitter. If every family fronts $8 to $10 per meeting and shares their babysitter lists, usually a group can find someone who will come watch all the kids for an hour.

Swap men and women meeting. Some groups choose to meet three times per month: once as men, once as women, and once as a whole group. When only the women meet, the men stay home with the kids, and vice versa. Then the third meeting is mostly bonding time, and the kids can be part of the action.

Swap sitting duties. If a group has several families involved (five or more), a good alternative is to rotate couples who do the sitting. Each week, one couple watches all the kids while the other adults meet and talk. This can happen in different houses, or in the same house, using different rooms. In this model, there is no need to pay or depend …

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Title: Big Trouble in Small Groups
Source: Christianity Today Magazine
Source URL:
Date: February 12, 2024 at 03:53PM
Feedly Board(s): Religion