When beginning a new cm leadership position – How to format the ministry

Your Question:

“I am directing a CM that hasn’t had a CM director before me.  How do I determine whether to organize the children into large groups or age-based classes?”

The Issues:

The children’s ministry vision should help you make this decision. The number of the people on your CM team may influence how you organize your children. If your current CM team is so small that you can only offer large-group programs, and yet your CM vision leans more toward grouping the children in smaller age-groups, you may have to ask God to bring more CM team members before you can group them according to your vision.

Scripture Foundation:

“When Jesus stepped ashore and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things. By now the hour was already late. So, the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the hour is already late. Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’ But Jesus told them, ‘You give them something to eat.’  …Then Jesus directed them to have the people sit in groups on the green grass. So, they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties…” Mark 6: 34-39

Short Answer:

The options for formatting the grouping of children in the CM are: 1) to offer a large group “show” or experience, or 2) to organize the children into smaller age groups.  There are “pros” and “cons” for each format.


The popular “large group” format lends itself to an “experience” or “show” that includes corporate worship and a lesson presentation from the stage. Many feel that this format prepares the children for what they will experience in the adult service. The challenge of the large group format is that it is a challenge to develop relationships between the children and the CM team.  In a large group gathering, it is also a challenge to capture the interest of all the various age groups. If the number of the CM team members is large enough, the children can be divided into small groups within the large room. The small groups are based on age or grade level, and the interaction in these small groups can be age-appropriate.  Within the small groups, relations are built with the CM team members.


The small group format is built around the children’s age, so making the lesson more age-appropriate is less of a challenge.  The small group format requires more CM team members (2 team members for each small group), but the possibility for developing relationships with the children is much higher than a large group format. A “con” of the age group format is that the children seldom experience corporate worship unless there is a large group worship session before the age group classes.


It would be good for you to visit other churches nearby to see examples of both of the format options.  While visiting, ask about recruiting challenges, the process of developing relationships with the children, and their approach to corporate worship among the children. 


Ask God to lead you to the format that He wants you to establish.  The important components of any CM gathering are: encouragement toward a deeper relationship with Jesus, a time of worship, and age-appropriate lesson presentation and experiences. Whichever format you choose, you must be able to provide those important components. For more help, click on the links below.

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