“Are you in a small group?”
I get asked that question just about every week at our church. We love small groups and want to see everyone connected to one.
The first people we met were Bruce and Mary, an older couple who oversee small group leaders. Just about everyone I know is in a small group. In fact, groups are so much a part of the community’s DNA that it’s generally assumed that you’re going to be a part of one.
As you can imagine, if you’re passionate about small groups, this is a really, really good thing.
Back to that question: “Are you in a small group?”
While I’m involved in a weekly men’s group, my wife and I aren’t in a group together, aside from a course we’re taking. We’re a single-income family, and the cost of child care for two young children can be overwhelming.
As I’m sure most parents can relate, even regular social events can be a chore when you add kids into the mix, particularly if there are no grandparents living in close proximity or friends who can be called on to regularly babysit. So when a night of babysitting comes up, it’s more likely to be used for a date night than for a night in small group.
After all, what man doesn’t love an opportunity to take his wife out on a fancy date to Starbucks?
The odds are stacked against groups. So what can we do to encourage parents of young children to join (aside from asking them to host one)?
Look at the resources that exist around us.
In most of our churches, we have a massive untapped resource just waiting to be used for effective, powerful, God-honoring ministry:
The youth group.
You can make it easier for parents to join a small group by asking the youth to volunteer some of their time to serve parents. This is something that our church tries to do as often as possible because we value small groups and our community’s spiritual growth so much.
Consider the idea for a moment. No doubt there are some great service opportunities for the youth in your church. Summer mission trips, Vacation Bible School, bake sales, music… These are not bad things, but they don’t always provide an opportunity for teens to practically invest in the lives of the men and women in their community.
So why not give them that opportunity?
Not only would parents be able to join a small group (without hosting it), but the teens in our churches can catch a bigger vision—to discover the importance of intergenerational ministry. To invest in the lives of children & adults and build relationships where they are invested in as well.
It’s a powerful opportunity for biblical discipleship to take place.
Why not take advantage of it?