The very first children’s ministry small group that I led was a group of 4th grade girls! They were high-energy, yet reflective, they asked profound questions, and were usually always very silly. We were a super close group, naming ourselves the Green Galaxy Girls, we made t-shirts, and usually every small group included at least one 4th grade girl arriving with dyed green hair. It was a really special group, I was a new leader, learning for the first time how to relate and facilitate a group, and the girls always offered me grace, and love, and patience. Those girls are now grown, most of them graduated from college and embarking on their very first careers! Where does the time go?
I think it was mid-way through my first year leading those girls that my supervisor suggested a tool that would help me keep track of my girls’ lives. Since there were between 10-12 girls in my group every Sunday, it was sometimes hard to remember the details of their lives: who played which sport (and won or lost), who was friends with whom this week, who was enemies with whom this week, who had brothers or sisters, who played a musical instrument, and so on. I wanted so badly to remember all the details, but sometimes it was just too hard. My supervisor suggested carrying a small notebook in my back pocket. Whenever a girl mentioned something that I wanted to remember, I would make a small note in my notebook. The next week, while I was preparing for my Sunday lesson, I would take out the notebook and review the notes from the previous week. Then, I would be ready to ask them specific questions about their weeks! It worked brilliantly!
While developing the What’s in the Bible? curriculum, it was important to create a tool just like my very first small group notebook. It’s called the Shepherding Guide. You, or your small group leaders can use this week-week to remember the most important details. You can keep copies in a binder, right alongside the curriculum lesson, so that leaders can review it while preparing their weekly lesson. Or you can shrink it so that it fits in a small group leader’s pocket. You can even send a digital copy that volunteers can fill in electronically each week. However you choose to use the Shepherding Guide, it’s sure to help you relationally connect with your small group each week!