Every kids ministry needs a team of champions. We believe that there are two major influences in the life of every kid in your ministry—their small group leader (an adult that consistently shows up every week for the same group of kids) and their parents. And if you want parents and small group leaders to invest in kids every week, you need a team that invests in them every week.
This is a team structure that successfully fosters a culture where small group training and parent engagement are a priority and will consist of Small Group Champions and Parent Champions. These champions are assigned to a target age or grade range within your ministry and are tasked with equipping both small groups and parents within that range.
Who is a Small Group Champion?
A Small Group Champion is a person who focuses on equipping the small group leader for success. This person is a hybrid of pastor, manager and vision-caster. And they’ve got three big things in their job description:
First is training small group leaders. The Small Group Champion establishes a system by which small group leaders are trained and equipped. This process will include new volunteer processing and apprenticeship, as well as providing ongoing resources for your established team.
Second, they’re in charge of assigning kids. At the end of the day, the best algorithm in the world doesn’t replace a person with a heart for connecting kids with a small group. There’s very little we can automate with this process. It’s simply a matter of ensuring kids are assigned to a group with a leader. Whether you use a church-management system, Excel spreadsheet, or old-fashioned pen and paper, you simply can’t get away from this reality. Someone must own the placement of kids into a small group with a small group leader to create the opportunity for meaningful connection.
Third is equipping small group leaders by providing what they need to do their job well. And a great Champion will give them more than their lesson for Sunday in advance. They’ll encourage and train them every single week, challenge them to become better small group leaders, and intentionally invest in them relationally.
To be clear, the focus of the Small Group Champion is not preparing all the resources, setting up the environments or generally completing a lot of task-y things. Though they can certainly do these things, their success should be gauged by how well they lead, equip and challenge your small group leaders to guide their group well.
Small group leaders have a big job every week and it’s the Small Group Champion’s job to make sure we set them up to win.
What about a Parent Champion?
The Parent champion is a hybrid pastor, counselor and cheerleader focused on connecting with, inspiring and equipping parents to foster faith conversations in their home. They champion hearing the parent. This could be done by establishing a Parent Advisory Team comprised of invested parents who offer constructive feedback and sincere encouragement. Meeting on a regular basis can set you up to hear from the perspective of a parent while infusing vision and practically equipping them.
Your Parent Champion will also need to leverage the avenues of communication within your church. They should be looking for those “built in” opportunities to connect and equip parents to have faith conversations at home. They’re leveraging opportunities to communicate and equip through avenues such as:
- Parenting classes/group studies
- Periodic events like Child Dedications, Promotion Weekend, Graduation Sunday or Baptism
- Weekly emails, social media and website
- New student/family follow-up
- Parent-focused message series
A team structure containing these two champions will better equip and inspire your two biggest influencers of kids—small group leaders and parents. Building your team of champions moves the ball in the right direction and puts points on the scoreboard. A strong culture is only established through lots of practice and an unrelenting focus on what should be instead of what is.