Have you ever been the newbie? Let me tell you, it’s a rough stage to be in. As an adult, you may have to reach far back into your childhood memories to re-live what it feels like to be the new kid on the block. Maybe you had to transfer to a new school when your family relocated across the country. Or you may have simply been the newest member of your sports or music team. Regardless of the reason, most of us have endured that awkward newcomer feeling at some point in our lifetime. And whether you’re a child, teen, or grown adult—starting a new venture in a new place with new people can be somewhat distressful. Grown-ups have the benefit of having lived through several transitional times, and should therefore respond to newbies in their circles of influence with joy and openness. This is so important in any situation to create a culture of unity and genuine friendliness. It’s also vital in the church setting—especially when it comes to reaching kids! The local church is a family of faith made up of Christians who are called to share the good news of God’s love with others. The goal should be one of welcoming all who attend, including children who are often shy or afraid of new surroundings. As a kid’s leader at church, how do you make this possible? When Kids Attend Your Small Group… Smile! Sounds too simple but it works. It’s hard to stay scared and lonely when there’s someone smiling at you. So when you greet children as they arrive, the first thing you can do is flash your pearly whites their way. Chances are, they’ll quickly start smiling back at you. Get Acquainted Everyone, young and old, likes to feel that others are interested in them. Ask kids easy-to-answer questions: “Where do you go to school?” “Do you have brothers or sisters? How old are they?” “Tell me about your weekend. What was the most fun thing you did?” “Where did you go on family vacation this past summer?” Play the Name Game
- Use nametags on the front of kids’ shirts to help you call on them by name.
- Play get-acquainted games, rehearsing their first names with fun facts about them such as, “My name is Mollie and I like strawberry ice cream!” Continue playing this type of game until all the children can call out each other’s first names along with their fun fact.