When a kid walks into an experience, they need to have interactions that help them feel needed and known. We, as leaders, are the ones who can build trust with them and represent the love of Jesus to each kid. But how do we do that well?
Being present is key. Watch this video and read below to see different ways you can do that!
Show up consistently.
When we are consistent for kids, we show them they matter to us, and that they matter to God. We also get to show them Jesus is same yesterday, today, and forever. He can be trusted and counted on when everything else in a kid’s life is changing. Here are some great ways to show up consistently:
- Show up every week. When kids see you each week, they can connect with you and trust you more because they know who you are, what your expectations are, and that you’ll be there again in the future.
- Show up on time. Kids get attached to their leaders, and look for them when they get dropped off. Help kids feel more secure and confident at drop-off by being there on time to meet them!
- Wear your LifeKids shirt. LifeKids shirts make you easily identifiable to kids and parents as a leader and a safe person, and show that you can be trusted to take care of the kids in your room.
- Lead the same small group each week. Kids will grow to recognize you, build trusted relationships with you, and drop their guard so they can have fun and share their honest thoughts and struggles.
Show up mentally.
Kids, like the rest of us, need a listening ear, and they need focused attention. When you drop everything and show up ready to focus on the kids in your small group, you show they have great value to you. Here are some ways you can communicate to the kids in your small group that you are 100% mentally in the moment with them:
- Limit phone use. Only use your phone for things that are building focus in your small group—not for things that show you’re distracted. Good uses for your phone include looking up Bible verses, timing an activity, or saving prayer requests. Stay away from texting, social media, videos, phone calls, or anything else that causes you to focus on your phone instead of on your kids.
- Manage conversations with other leaders. When you lead consistently, you don’t just build relationships with the kids, but you’ll start to connect with the other leaders, too! Make time before or after you go to your room to serve to catch up with your fellow leaders, exchange phone numbers, or follow each other on social media, so that you can maintain your friendship without detracting from the attention you need to give the kids in the room.
- Prepare ahead of time. Take a few minutes each week to visit leaders.life.church to brush up on small group activities, emcee scripts, worship motions, and small group questions. That way you can be ready to lead when you arrive, instead of fumbling through leader guides and missing out on prime opportunities to connect with kids.
Show up randomly.
You show kids they matter when you show up during key points in their life. Here are some ways you can do that!
- Write them a postcard. When a kid receives a postcard from you during the week to celebrate their birthday, let them know you’re praying for them, or just to say, “Hi!” it will show you care about them every day of the week. Keep a list of who you’ve sent postcards to so every kid in your small group gets some of the love!
- Show up to an event. Look for times you have margin to show up for a kid’s event, like a soccer game, art show, award ceremony, or birthday party.
- Connect with their parents. Whether via email, text, social media, or a phone call, contact the kid’s parents to let them know something great about their kid or to ask how their kid is doing and how you can pray for them.
Talk through these discussion questions with your fellow leaders and LifeKids team.
- What do you think you can do before you serve each week to help you show up mentally?
- What do you think is really important about showing up consistently?
- Who can you think of in your life that always shows up consistently, mentally, and randomly?
- What things does that person do to show you really matter to them?
- What outcome do you hope you’ll see in your small group by being totally present for the kids?
A special thank you to Orange and the reThink Group for their ideas and research on their “lead small” philosophy referenced in this guide.