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Stories from CEF

Small Group Leaders the Glue That Hold GNC Together

-Carolyn Tinney

“I’m just a small group leader!” Have you ever heard anyone say that?  Have you said that about yourself?  Sometimes just because someone is not the Bible teacher in a Good News Club® that person thinks his role is not important.

In a GNC of any size there are different tasks to assume: team leader, administrative coordinator, prayer coordinator, Bible teacher(s), teacher’s assistants, small group leaders, snack providers, door keeper, A/V director, and possibly a game director. In some clubs multiple tasks are assumed by one person. Which one of these workers could we do without?  It takes all of us to have the club run smoothly.

In our GNC at Point Harmony Elementary School in Cross Lanes, West Virginia we started last season with an enrollment of 116 from kindergarten through fifth grades!  Kindergarten through first grade meet in the library with their own separate program. Second through fifth grades meet in the gymnasium. When the older children arrive at club right after school they go immediately to their small groups. (We try to keep a ratio of one leader to six to eight children, at the most.)  In small group they have their snack, recite their memory verse from the previous week, or one they remember, and have a short lesson provided in the curriculum.  The small group leader is the one who gets to know the children as they chat together and have a time of prayer. 

After fifteen minutes in small group the children are dismissed to come into what we call “the big group” to sing our songs, learn a new verse, hear a Bible lesson and experience Wonder Time.  We allow about 45 minutes for this time.  After big group the children go back to small group for their review game.  Each small group leader is provided the game and review questions so that he or she knows how to play the game. We end club with an active game with the whole group participating until the parents pick them up.

Small groups that have the same leader week after week are the groups that stay intact until the end of our school year. The groups that have a leader who is hit or miss, (here one week, gone two weeks, then back the next week) are the groups with kids that drop out.  A person filling in for the leader who is missing does not know the children’s names, has no connection with them, and usually does not know the “routine” for that group.  I have noticed the kids with a missing leader will try to wander around the gym looking for someone to connect with.  They will be doing their own thing.  After a while we will not see those children anymore.  I don’t think small group leaders realize they are the “glue” that holds our clubs together. 

There are several reasons why the average child comes to GNC and stays the whole season. One of those very important reasons is because he knows someone at that club cares that he is there. He knows there is someone who will miss him if he does not show up.  He has a leader who tells him he is praying for him.

 Kids are looking for a place to belong.  They are looking for someone who cares. Many come from very dysfunctional homes. A good small group leader understands these things and provides that safe, caring environment.  So, please don’t ever say again, “I am just a small group leader.”  We need you.  But, most of all, the children in your small groups really need you.

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