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A Peek Into My Small Group

11 Apr
I have had a few people as me what small group looks like for me in our children’s ministry. I lead a small group of girls in third through fifth grade.
Here is a peek into my small group.

We are dismissed from large group time to break out into our small groups. One of my girls will grab our small group bucket which contains our activities and supplies. As we gather in our circle, I will ask how everyone’s week was and if anyone has something about it that they would like to share. Now in a group of girls this could take some time, so I usually limit it to just a couple of stories.

I ask everyone to open their Bibles so that we can read our Bible verse together and talk more about it. For example, this past weekend our Bible verse was Proverbs 3:5, so I first asked if Proverbs was in the Old or New Testament. As the girls were looking up the Bible verse, I told them about Solomon and how he asked God for wisdom and that Proverbs was written to share that wisdom. We will then read the verse aloud a few times as not everyone has the same translation and the girls enjoy reading how it is worded in their Bibles. Then I asked the girls what they think it means to trust God with all of their heart. Then I asked the girls if we should only trust God for some things and not others. Then I asked what it means to them when the verse tells us not to depend on our own understanding. We listened to everyone’s answers and discussed each of them. We do this on a regular basis with our weekly Bible verses.

At this time we will move on to our activity provided with our curriculum. Sometimes I will add a craft to our activities which the girls can take home as a reminder of what they have learned and a way to share with their families. This past week we made beaded bracelets with a heart on them to remind us of our Bible verse. This activity time is when my girls are most talkative. They share about what is happening in their lives, talk about our Bible story, and really connect with each other. 
I guide the conversation by asking questions, but for the most part I am listening more than talking during this time.

Towards the end of our time together, I ask the girls if they have any prayer requests. We listen as each one shares. I repeat each one and remind the girls to be praying for each other through the week. The girls will also share any answered prayers during this time. Then we pray together. I ask the girls if they would like to pray out loud and explain that no one has to do so. We do “tap a knee” circle praying. Once a girl is done praying, she will tap the knee of the girl beside her. If someone doesn’t want to pray aloud, then she will tap the knee of the girl beside her. This goes on until the circle comes back to me and then I will close the prayer.

Most times the girls are released to their families from our small group. If we happen to have time left before pick up, then I usually break out playing cards (Uno is our favorite right now) or blank paper and colored pencils (I get lots of artwork to hang on my fridge this way). We continue our conversations in the extra time.

Although I am a big believer in planning and preparing for each week, there have been times when the Holy Spirit has prompted me to put all plans aside in our time together. This happened once when one of my girls shared that they were being bullied in school. We spent our time in group discussing this issue and I watched these girls encourage and love on each other. You can’t plan those moments.

I love these sweet girls and am so very blessed to be part of their lives. They are smart and funny and sassy and so very precious. In this circle, I have watched them grow in their faith, love on each other, and become a tribe.

What does small group look like for you?


Riding the Rollercoaster

7 Mar
Leading a small group of preteen girls is both rewarding and challenging. They are in that in-between stage and learning how to navigate new waters and we are part of the journey they are taking between child and teenager. Part of this new path is changing hormones and the emotions that accompany them. 
A preteen girl’s emotions can be up one minute and down another. 
This rollercoaster of feelings can sometimes manifest itself in bouts of tears.
Here are four pointers in dealing with this kind of emotional outburst:

Deal with it. Don’t ignore it or trivialize it. The situation may seem silly, but to a girl in the midst of the outburst it can be scary and overwhelming.

Talk about it. Taking the girl aside and giving her a chance to share how she is feeling and helping her identify why she is feeling that way is a huge help.

Normalize it. Reassure her that what she is feeling is normal for her age. Let her know that other girls are going through this same thing.

Pray about it. Take this time to pray with her and for her. Let her know that God wants to hear how she is feeling and will be there for her.

Part of being a small group leader of preteen girls is riding this rollercoaster with them. We are here to support and encourage them along the way.

I wouldn’t trade a moment of it and am so blessed 
to be a part of my small group girls’ lives.


My Heart Beats for This One

14 Feb
She smiles at me under her lowered eyes as she enters the room each week. She hugs so tight yet whispers her hello to me. She moves into the room slowly with shuffling feet. She stands back from the crowd of boisterous girls with such longing in her face. She doesn’t join in the chatter and giggles. During worship she sways back and forth singing praise to Him low enough that you would have to bend down to hear her voice. And then we gather in our circle to talk more about our lesson that day. She hesitates to raise her hand to answer a question. 

But today…such boldness. When I asked my girls for prayer requests, her hand shot up and she told us about her papaw who is sick. When the time came for this circle of girls to pray, her head bowed and her hands opened in front of her. In that moment when she would usually tap the knee of the girl sitting next to her, she instead prayed this quiet reverent prayer to Jesus. With each word offered, her hands raised a bit higher to Him. She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t whisper. 

This brave, sweet girl raised her voice to a God she knows, asking Him for healing. Thanking Him in advance for all He is going to do. Thanking Him for the girls sitting in the circle. Asking Him to answer all of their prayers today. Thanking Him for the gift of me.

Oh my precious girl. 

I wept. My heart overflowing. Knowing that she knows Him. That she lifts her hands to Him. That she doesn’t stand back from His presence, but enters boldly before Him.

My hearts beats for this one today.

 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…”
Matthew 19:14 

Around the Tables Again

25 Jan
Today I am joining Lisa-Jo and friends for Five Minute Friday.
This is where we come together writing for 5 minutes without editing or overthinking.
I love this community.

Check out what everyone’s is sharing on the word AGAIN here.

Five Minute Friday

We are gathered around the tables again. 
This group of women. This group of mommas.
My friends. My sisters.
We bow our heads in prayer together.
Inviting Him into this space we share. 
We open our Bibles and read aloud the Word.
Seeking Him.
Wanting to know more of Him.
We talk of things that are usually held inside.
And know that we aren’t alone.
We are sharing the deepest parts of our hearts.
And know that we are loved.
Around the tables again.
We end our time together bowing once again in prayer.
For each other. For our families.
Bringing to Him all things.
We hesitate to leave this place.
A sacred place.
On the way home, I weep.
Thanking Him for the gift of you all.
Thanking Him.
For our time around the tables again.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
I always pray for you, and I make my requests
with a heart full of joy.
Philippians 1:3-4 


My God Sized Dream

8 Jan
I have sat down at the computer about a thousand times in the last week to write this post about my dream. I wouldn’t have guessed how hard it would be to actually put it into words, but I have to admit that it has been a struggle.

I have been serving in Children’s Ministry for some years now and I absolutely LOVE it. I have the privilege of loving on and sharing Jesus with an amazing group of kids each week. There is nothing like it. Or so I thought.

A few months ago God opened a door for me to lead a Bible study for moms. To say that I was scared is definitely putting it lightly. I am more than comfortable leading a small group of 4th and 5th grade girls, but to lead a group of women was totally out of my comfort zone. 
So I did it scared.

Something happened those first couple of weeks that I just can’t find the words to explain. Sitting around this table with these moms…God broke my heart. Not just for them, but for the moms of our church and the moms of our community.
The moms who hide behind the busy and get lost in the laundry.
The moms who feel discouraged and alone.
The moms who are seeking God and long for community.

My God sized dream is to be part of making that happen. 
A community of moms doing life together.

I don’t know what that looks like or how it will happen, but I know that He does.
I am trusting Him to lead the way.

What I do know is: 

I believe God has created and called me to love and encourage 
children and moms through shepherding, teaching, and writing.

God-Sized Dreams

My friend Holley Gerth invited me to join a group of dreamers that she affectionately calls her God Sized Dream Team. What a blessing to be part of this group. 

We will be gathering each week on Tuesdays at Holley’s to encourage each other and you to dream those God sized dreams.

Won’t you join us?
What is your God sized dream?


What I’m Reading

3 Oct

My Thoughts

What the message of the movie Courageous did for fathers everywhere, Courageous Teens  could do for our youth. Courageous Teens is about empowering and encouraging our youth in their faith and living out that faith courageously.

Each chapter begins with a clip of dialog from the movie Courageous and scripture about the  men and women in the Bible that God used in great ways. There are discussion questions at the end of each chapter to help facilitate conversations. This book would be a fantastic study for youth in small groups, a mentoring study, or an individual study.

You can purchase the book here:

About the Book

Courageous Teens is a student-focused presentation of Courageous Living by Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and executive producer of the hit film Courageous.

Michael Catt brings fresh insight to stories of people in the Bible who displayed great courage when it would have been easier to play it safe. Teen readers will be inspired to resolve to live for God as they learn more about Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, Ruth, Daniel, and many more.

About the Authors

Michael Catt has served as senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, since 1989 and is executive producer of the popular films Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous that originated from the congregation. He also authored Fireproof Your Life and founded the ReFRESH revival conference. Michael and his wife, Terri, have two children.

Amy Parker has written more than twenty books for children, teens, and adults including the best-selling A Night Night Prayer and three Mom’s Choice Awards winners. Amy and her husband have two children.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Connect Four

10 Aug

She comes into the room with her head down
not even looking up when I say hello. 
She is so shy and unsure.

I ask her to come to the table and play a game with me. 
Telling her that we have some time before
more kids will arrive and we begin to worship.
Connect Four.

With each click of our moves trying to line our colors up, 
she bravely looks up and steals a glance at me. 
I pretend not to notice. 
With each word of encouragement I offer, 
I see the hints of her smile.
She begins to talk.
Sharing about her world.

Then the moment comes when she wins the game. 
She has connected all of her circles. 
She looks up smiling with the joy of the victory.
This smile that just lights up the room.

And I think to myself that more than these
colored circles made a connection today.

Linking up with my friend Lisa-Jo
Five Minute Friday