What is this?
We are making a BIG improvement for all of our students in 5th-8th grade at Mount Pleasant Christian Church regarding their Small Group experience. And it starts with registration.
Small groups are at the core of our weekend services for preteens and middle school students.
We believe in leading small: making a choice to invest strategically in the lives of a few over time so we can help them build an authentic faith.
Everyone needs someone who knows their name and what’s happening in their life. For us, that person is the child’s Small Group Leader. To make that happen in a small group, there has to be consistency.
- The Leader needs to show up every week.
- The students need to show up every week.
- Both need to be showing up at the same service together.
Students who have been coming to the same service and going to group with the same leader have experienced the genuine sense of community that is possible in a small group.
Students who have been coming to different service times and/or switching which group they are in have experienced people discussing the lesson, but not real community. Leaders can’t truly get to know students when they are inconsistent. And the students can’t develop close relationships with their peers when they are inconsistent.
So, we need to get everyone showing up on the same day, same time each week and going to the same group with the same leader each week. I talked about this at our Parents Meeting earlier this year. You can watch the 5 minute clip of that part here:
Different Than Main Services
One of the first things I need fellow Parents to un-learn is how the weekend services are viewed. In the main services, often you will be encouraged to come to a Saturday service if you have Sunday plans or to come to an 11:30 service if 10:00 is expected to be full.
As the parent of a child, especially one in 5th-8th grade, I want you to ignore those comments and requests. Your child is too important.
In the main church services, if you come to a different service, you just end up sitting with different people. But for the main church, the worship service is a large group event led from stage with little to no interaction with the people sitting around you. The goal is that you would connect with peers in a Home Group and develop a true sense of community from that group.
Small Groups are the core of our weekend services for 5th-8th grade students.
For us working with the 5th-8th graders, the Small Groups they are in are the core of our weekend. We do have large group games, worship and teaching. However, all of that is designed with the goal of setting up the Small Groups to have a great community experience together.
What We Need You To Do
As one parent to another, I know that weekends are not identical and sometimes you are not able to come to your “normal” service. However, if we’re honest, sometimes families come to different services just because it is convenient.
If you really want your child to be known and loved by a caring, Christian adult and a group of their peers, then your child and I need you to pick one service that will be the main service you attend so that they can be consistent on a weekly basis.
We offer programming for 5th-8th graders at 6pm on Saturdays and at 10am and 11:30am on Sundays. Have a family conversation about which one works best and make it a family goal to make that your main service. It will be a game changer for your child in what they experience on the weekend. He/she will not only be learning about Jesus, but they’ll be making friends with peers and developing a unique relationship with their Small Group Leader that will help them live more like Jesus.
Register for a Small Group
Your next step is then to register your child for a small group.
This is similar to registering for an event, but simpler.
We want to setup these groups to have 8-10 students and 1-2 leaders. They all need to be the same gender. And they will usually be all the same grade. The only exception to the grade is if we don’t have enough students to form a small group with just one grade. Then it would be a combination of 5th-6th grade or 7th-8th grade, but still the same gender. And, as that group and service grows, it would eventually multiply into two groups, with each having students of the same grade and gender.
Registration allows you to give us some basic information. And it allows you to share any Leader or group member requests you have for your child.
So…What Happens When…
What happens when a weekend occurs where you need to come to a different service than your “normal” one?
That’s where our new “On Deck” groups come in.
On Deck small groups are made up of students who are not in their normal service, as well as any students who are new and did not come with a friend. Every week we have students who are our guests, visiting for the first time. Instead of throwing them into an existing group, they get to be part of this special small group.
On Deck small groups will all be the same ministry, either 5th-6th or 7th-8th. However, they will be co-ed groups. We have leaders who will guide these students through the same experience the other small groups will be going through that weekend. The main difference is that they will spend a little more time getting to know each other that existing groups don’t need to do. And the leader won’t follow up with them during the week, since this group will constantly be changing.
And…if you switch services and then decide you really like a different one, you can contact us or we’ll contact you when we spot a pattern, and we’ll discuss making that your new “normal” service. At that point, your child can become part of a regular Small Group and get the experience of community and all the benefits that come from that.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, the best way for your child to get to know Jesus and to follow him is to have a Small Group where they are known and know others as they are cared for and led by a Small Group Leader.
The only way that is going to happen is if your child consistently attends one service as their main service. Since they can’t drive at this age – thankfully – we need your help to get them here consistently.
Then bring your child here consistently. We’ll make sure we have well-trained Small Group Leaders who show up consistently themselves and invest in their few – which is about 10 students, including yours. Together, we’ll have a great partnership that helps these students know and follow Jesus.
And if you have any questions, please let me know.
-Mike Sheley, Middle School Pastor, Mount Pleasant Christian Church