Recently, Covenant’s discipleship team partnered with our Children and Family Ministry (CFM) leaders to figure out how to best serve this growing need. Together, the teams came up with a plan, asking small groups to adopt a single Sunday each at 9:30, between February and May, on which every member of the group would come and volunteer with kids.
“We love to see the community that so many small group members are building with one another and we feel like volunteering together is a great way to spread that sense of connection to other ministries,” Associate Director of Discipleship Kathryn Sedberry said.
“There are numerous areas that small groups can help with young 2-year-olds all the way to 'mature' 5th graders,” CFM Director Christy Milam said. “We have opportunities for volunteers from small groups to sing Bible songs and read scripture from the Children’s Storybook Bible with the little ones, or lead a ' station' like music, Bible blitz, drama, art, science or games. Volunteers from small groups can also lead big kids on discussions about faith, experience and life’s meaning.”
First to step up was Elizabeth Moore’s small group, whom she describes as “her real people.” She didn’t hesitate to get them on board. (Elizabeth has an added incentive, as she serves as Covenant’s Childcare Coordinator.)
“I just texted the group with a Sunday that about half of our small group members were already volunteering and said, 'Let’s all help out.’”
On the group’s selected Sunday, 9 of 10 members showed up. (One mom had to stay home with a sick kid.) The nine fanned out across the kids' programs. “Members of our small group went to making music and Bible blitz; we placed an assistant for both the younger 2’s and older 2’s; and a couple of our guys help with fourth-grade boys every week. We had a mom with first-grade boys and one member helped with the JOY ministry.”
“It was great,” Elizabeth said. “We all had fun, especially the guys. They said they really appreciated being around kids other than their own, and that they liked to see what the kids are actually doing. The experience made it more real for them.”
Fourth-grade leader Daniel Campbell appreciates the curriculum. “The fourth graders study the Old Testament. I like the way it connects the Old Testament to the story of God; it’s not just individual books. All the boys get their own Bibles and they can mark them up.”
Daniel added that he likes being with his son. “I really like getting to know the kids in this group; these are the kids that my son will grow up with in the church.”
“And we talk about cars!” one of the boys said, peering out the window. “Look at the Ferrari,” he said, pointing to a fast car below.
Elizabeth’s group has been together for about three years and appreciated the benefits of the experience. “I think it strengthens our group, just like other events that we do together – we have a common experience.”
Other experiences Elizabeth’s group has shared are the adult retreat and family camp, both at Laity Lodge. They do date nights and Christmas dinners and never miss a Wednesday night meeting.
“I love them. They’re my people. We’ve been through really tough stuff together,” she said. The group communicates often and keeps in touch almost daily with their group text message – “Small Group Gang.”
Another small group will volunteer on March 1. Katie Jo Seutter said she just told members of her group how many volunteers it takes to run children’s programming every Sunday, and suggested, "Let’s help!”
“My small group was all in,” Katie said, adding, “Two of our couples don’t have kids and they still want to help. It’s our goal to do it once every two months.”
Katie’s group, which formed at the beginning of this school year, quickly jelled. “Just to know you have this group of people who are praying for you. We’ve become a close group of friends; we’re our own little committee and we want to do what we can for our church.”
The group meets weekly, and also schedules a monthly dinner out. They meet off-campus at members’ houses and go listen to music, including small group member Jason Roberts’ band.
“We look forward to our meetings. It’s not a check-off on our list. We’re doing life together, doing it with people who love the Lord. The members are praying for what God would have for you, not what you would have for you.” Katie said.
If you or your small group is interested in volunteering or just want to learn more, contact Elizabeth Moore.