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  • Writer's pictureDavid Rausch

The #1 small group management mistake (and how to fix it.)

Imagine this: it's 2 a.m. when you get a call from your neighbor. She's tells you that there's a mob of people approaching your house, then she abruptly hangs up. How would you feel about that news? I'm going to take a wild guess: not too great! If it were me, I'd implement my Zombie Preparedness Plan (ZPP) in hopes that it works on unruly mobs as well. Okay...maybe I don't have a ZPP (not yet anyway,) but I would definitely take some sort of precautionary measures. That's because nothing good ever really happens in mobs. They're disorderly assemblies of people who feed on each other's chaotic energy. Yet every Sunday morning, that's what so many KidMin small group leaders create: mini mobs of kids. In fact, it's the #1 small group management mistake I see in churches. By seating kids in small mobs or clusters, it causes all sorts of group management problems. The fix: seat kids in a circle. Here's why: Everybody feels like they are a part of the group. When a small group is arranged in a big mob or clump, the kids sitting toward the outside or the back often don’t feel like they’re a part of what’s going on and their attention goes elsewhere. In a circle, no one is on the outside. The kids will talk to one another, not just the leader. Small group leaders are the facilitator of conversation, not the center of it. If they organize their group like a miniature classroom, kids will become accustomed to talking and listening to only the leader. A circle allows kids to feel like they’re connected to everyone in the group. It’s easier to manage. In a circle, there is a direct line of sight between the leader and everyone in the group. When that happens, kids are more apt to behave. Moreover, leaders can quickly and easily address interruptions. Are there two kids distracting each other? Separate them in the circle. Is there a kid who is more difficult to manage? Seat them next to the leader in the circle. You can use eye contact to your advantage. Eye contact invites participation. If you have a kid who seldom participates, consider placing him across from the leader in the circle where they’ll get more eye contact. Conversely, you can place kids who dominate conversation next to the leader. The mini mobs in your KidMin room might not be flipping cars over or lighting trash can fires (emphasis on might,) but they can cause they're own brand of kid chaos during small group time. Fortunately, the fix is so simple. Talk to your small group leaders and ask them to give the circle a try. You'll be amazed at what a difference it can make.

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