Our CM Programs are large group

Your Question:

“We utilize a large group format for our CM programs. We are concerned that the kids are not developing strong relationships with the CM leaders, or with other children. How can we develop strong relationships with the kids in a large group CM program?”

The Issues:

Relationships require personal attention.  If your large group CM programs are staffed by too few people, the CM team will find it difficult or impossible to develop relationships with the children.  Increasing the size of the CM team that runs the large group program might be a challenge. The other issue might be in the programming. A fast-paced, high-energy program may be exciting, but it is difficult to foster relationships between the children and the CM team, or between the children themselves.

Scripture Foundation:

“When Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. Just then a synagogue leader named Jairus came and fell at Jesus’ feet. He begged Him to come to his house, because his only daughter, who was about twelve, was dying. As Jesus went with him, the crowds pressed around Him, including a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years. She had spent all her money on physicians, but no one was able to heal her.  She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched Me?’ Jesus asked. …Then the woman, seeing that she could not escape notice, came trembling and fell down before Him. In the presence of all the people, she explained why she had touched Him and how she had immediately been healed. ‘Daughter,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’ While He was still speaking, someone arrived from the house of the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ he told Jairus. ‘Do not bother the Teacher anymore.’ But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, ‘Do not be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.’ When He entered the house, He did not allow anyone to go in with Him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s father and mother. …But Jesus took her by the hand and called out, ‘Child, get up!’ Her spirit returned, and at once she got up. And He directed that she be given something to eat.”  Luke 8: 40-55

Short Answer:

The challenge of building relationships is known to be inherit with large group programs.  There are two ways to address this challenge: 1) Increase the number of CM team members in the program, or 2) Adjust the program to promote more interaction between the children and CM team members.  Option #2 is the easiest option given today’s society which doesn’t naturally volunteer to serve.  If you don’t already have a time of small group interaction built into your program, this is a good beginning.  Of course, breaking the group of children into smaller discussion groups creates a challenge if your room is set up in rows of chairs.  Many churches remove the rows of chairs and ask the children to sit on the floor.  This saves space that can be used to set up circles of chairs or tables on the edges of the large group area.  When it is time for the small group interactions, the children get up from the floor and sit in the circled areas.  Having physical areas in which to hold small groups is just the first challenge you’ll face.  Now, you have to develop leaders for those small groups.  If you are running the program on a limited number of adult CM team members, you will need more leaders for the small groups.  You can invite students from the youth ministry to join your CM large group program as small group leaders.  This is an excellent way to develop leaders in the youth group.  If you do this, then the adult CM team members who run the program can visit the small groups and encourage the children.  This is just one option for building relationships within a large group program.  As Jesus modeled in Luke 9, leaders must be aware of opportunities to build relationships, no matter how many people are in the crowd!  For more help, click on the links below.

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