Frank Bealer: Give Every Kid A Consistent Leader
If we are going to give every student a consistent leader it takes structure.
Structure: How you arrange or manage various parts so they can support something important.
If we say giving a kid a consistent leader is what we do, is that how we are built? The way we operate in ministry. Your programming can cause students to not come back to your ministry. Your programming does not keep them, they come back because of relationship. We evaluate the large group experiences but if we aren’t careful we spend so much time on programming and forget to see if we actually have leaders showing up consistently for every kid.
We can do big epic events but if they don’t connect kids to a consistent leader, does it really matter? Does it really change a life? Camp can leverage the time of weeks and months worth of small group or you can miss it.
The quality of your relationships is linked to the quality of your structure.
Reinforce and redirect the relationships.
Habit 1 – Organize to Be Organic
Someone has to own it. We say we are about small groups but is it in anyone’s job description? What if we said small groups were so important we took some of our best leaders and said that small group was what we wanted them to focus on? Making coaches of small group leaders. How many of us need more volunteers? 2700 kidmin volunteers at Elevation when Frank left and they still needed more. Inconvenient to pull the best small group leaders out to become coaches but better for the overall growth process. Kids need a lot of structure but as they get older it begins to shift and the roles change. Everyone needs a good seat. Evaluate if you are giving kids a consistent leader with the ratio.
Needs / Haves Document: Needs. How many do you need to keep a good healthy ratio? How many do you actually have? Not how many do you make it work with but actually have. 8-10 and maybe 12 with inconsistency. We cheat the number and try to make it work. Hold ourselves accountable to know how we are doing really. When it grows beyond the capacity some of the kids get squeezed out.
Find ways to pull in the new kids. How do we recognize who is new?
Habit 2: Think Steps Not Programs
We are moving kids closer to small groups, away from small groups, or they are not moving anywhere. Sometimes you have to stop doing something that works if you want something more important to work better.
When students have the opportunity for a shared experience with the small group leader it begins the relationship.
Parents dropping the kids off at the small group leaders house opens the door for a relationship. Stories often don’t make it back to parents. Small group leaders can share these stories with parents that they wouldn’t have heard otherwise. How was camp? Good. What did you do? Stuff.
Don’t teach everything in the large group environment, create the tension and hand it off to the small group leaders to do something with it.
When you things steps, not programs…Events solidify small groups.
When you things steps, not programs…Volunteers reinforce small groups.
When you things steps, not programs…Resources support small groups.
Challenge the kids to know their leader. Do you know your small group leader’s name? Structure small group for relationships.
Habit 3: Move to the rhythm: The more people in a kids life who are moving to the same rhythm, the greater the impact. What are the students wrestling with in this season? On a holiday, maybe give the leaders a break or do something to leverage those times and seasons. The calendar has a rhythm. The community has a rhythm. Your ministry has a rhythm.
Students need someone else, in addition to their dad, to help them navigate the world. They need someone in their corner to point them in the right direction who is keeping them in check. Parents need someone to come alongside their child consistently to be for their kids.
When parents see you are fighting for the relationship, it changes things in their family. Find mentors and leaders. It’s easier to find one person to lead from the stage than an army of people who will disciple the students.