Episode 048: Small Group Leader Best Practices With Shannon Pijanowski

small group leader

In this episode, I talk with one of the small group leaders from our church, Shannon Pijanowski. Shannon is a phenomenal small group leader who leads a group of 2nd graders every Sunday morning, and a group of 11th graders every Sunday night. We walk through what she does on a week-to-week basis to connect with kids and students, and how she partners with their parents.

Shannon Pijanowski

Connect with Shannon on Facebook and Instagram

Email: Shannon.Pijanowski@communitycc.net

Community Christian Church

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Unexpected Accountability (blog post) – Shannon shares how serving as a small group leader can stretch and grow one’s faith in unexpected ways

42 Ways to Keep Showing Up (blog post) – Practical ideas for small group leaders on how to connect with their few

139 Weeks (blog post) – Shannon reminds small group leaders to know how much time they have left with their kids or students, and to lead with the end in mind

Lead Small – Check out more posts and resources to help small group leaders as they invest in their few

Small Group Leader Pre-Sunday Best Practices:

  1. Read the curriculum before Sunday morning. Knowing it well helps you communicate better and frees you up to connect with kids and students.
  2. Adjust the curriculum according to your few, and integrate extra props, visuals, and interactive elements to engage them
  3. Circle up and touch base about with other leaders to share wins and stories, and what’s working/what’s not working
  4. Invest in yourself. Go to trainings, read blogs, and check out books. They don’t always have to be SGL-specific. Parenting blogs, resources for family ministry leaders, and others, can be really helpful.
  5. Set an example for other leaders
  6. Pray specifically for the time you will have with your kids or students each week

Small Group Leader Sunday Best Practices

  1. Intentionally focus the time
  2. Compliment them
  3. Talk about their lives
  4. Make agreements and invite them into making those agreements
  5. Champion students owning their own faith, and encourage them to serve at church
  6. Look for opportunities to give your kids or students ownership/leadership
  7. Validate and encourage questions
  8. Show them your Bible

Small Group Leader Post-Sunday Best Practices

  1. Pray for each kid or student every week, and pray for bigger things going on in their lives multiple times a week
  2. Pray for their families and connect with parents for prayer requests
  3. Compliment them in front of their parents
  4. Follow up with parents about what was talked about during group, especially if a big topic or question was broached
  5. Notice when they are not there and send a handwritten note
  6. Send birthday cards that personally celebrate them and call our their gifts
  7. Celebrate milestones with them (ex: baptism, driver’s license)
  8. Go to events and games outside of Sunday
  9. Follow up with other leaders

Shannon’s Elementary Small Group Agreements:

  1. Keep our hands, feet, and bodies to ourselves
  2. Look for ways to be helpful and encouraging
  3. Be kind with our words and actions
  4. Be respectful to our friends and leaders
  5. Have fun

Action Items

  1. If you’re a small group leader, choose one of the things Shannon talked about and try it this week
  2. If you’re a ministry leader, share this episode with your volunteers and use it as a springboard for discussion
  3. Consider moving from a class or concert model to a small group model where individual leaders invest in their few every week. Check out this post for details on how to do that.

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To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: Katie Edwards

In the next episode, I talk with Katie Edwards. Katie is the Junior High Pastor at Saddleback Church in California. She shares some great insight on how we can better understand middle school students and help them understand how much Jesus loves them.

 

Episode 047: Creativity in Youth Ministry With Justin Knowles

ideas for youth ministry

In this episode, I talk with Student Pastor Justin Knowles. Justin and I have a great conversation about creative ideas for youth ministry events and programming. We also dive into what makes a great volunteer culture and he shares his 3 year plan for revamping the ministry he came into at Christ’s Church.

Justin Knowles

Connect with Justin on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JustinKKnowles.com

Christ’s Church of the Valley

Click Here to Win a FREE Orange Conference Ticket

Like the page and comment on my OC17 Ticket post with your location and church. I will be choosing a name this Friday, April 7 at 5PM Eastern Time. If you’re planning to be at the Orange Conference, feel free to reach out and let me know. It’d be great to connect with you!

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Download Youth Ministry Blog – Check out Justin’s posts and other resources to find more creative ideas for youth ministry

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (book) – Chris McChesney shares how to determine what is most important, develop a strategy for going after it, and seeing it through to completion

Event Ideas

  • Glow-in-the-dark night
  • Silent disco with headphones and dancing
  • Fall flannel festival with fire pits, a photo booth, and all things pumpkin flavored
  • Backyard BBQ with burgers, hot dogs, inflatables, human hamster balls, and an ice cream truck

Christ’s Church’s New Student Area

  1. Invite new students to the back of room at the end of the night
  2. Have them fill out a quick info card
  3. Give them a giant candy bar
  4. Follow up that week with a personal text from the leader they were introduced to

Justin’s Process for Revamping Student Ministry

  1. Started with leaders
  2. Rewrote volunteer expectations
  3. Had all leaders reapply
  4. Onboarded new volunteers
  5. Created opportunities for leaders to hang out together
  6. Began 3 year plan (Programming, small groups, serving)

Action Items

  1. Try planning and hosting events that take place during your regular programming
  2. Gather a team of people and brainstorm creative ideas for youth ministry programming, events, trips, and culture

Subscribe | Share | Rate | Comment

To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: Shannon Pijanowski

In the next episode, I talk with one of the small group leaders from our church, Shannon Pijanowski. Shannon is a phenomenal SGL who leads a group of 2nd graders every Sunday morning, and a group of 11th graders every Sunday night. We walk through what she does on a week-to-week basis to connect with kids and students, and how she partners with their parents. The principles and practices she shares are really helpful for ministry leaders, but could also serve as a great resource for your volunteers.

 

Episode 046: Leading Yourself and Aligning a NextGen Team With Aaron Bauer

leading yourself

In this episode, I interview Next Gen Pastor Aaron Jack Bauer of Journey Church. We talk about leading yourself and the specifics of how Aaron takes responsibility for his own growth. Aaron also walks through what it has looked like for the Children’s and Student Ministries at Journey to align as one NextGen team.

Aaron Jack Bauer

Connect with Aaron on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Email: aaronjackbauer@icloud.com

Journey Church

Click here to register for Orange Conference 2017

Let me know if you’ll be there–it’d be great to connect with you!

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Jim Wideman’s Infuse – An online coaching program for kidmin leaders

Orange Legacy Countdown – An app to remind you that you do more with the time you have when you can see how much time you have left

Leading Yourself: Questions to Ask

  1. What’s it like to be on the other side of me?
  2. If you were employed by you, how would you lead you?
  3. What information am I taking in? What am I reading and/or listening to?
  4. Who am I connecting with and learning from?
  5. How well am I leading myself?

Leading Yourself: Evaluate

  1. Analyze your time and priorities
  2. Know and understand your strengths and areas of challenge
  3. Take a personality profile test, study it, and return to it periodically (Ex: Path ElementsRight Path, StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, The Four Temperaments Test)

Leading Yourself: Tips for Learning

  1. Don’t limit your information consumption to the church world
  2. Read books and watch movies that are popular and ask why those things have been a success, and what this says about culture
  3. Listen to podcasts
  4. Meet up with people in your local area
  5. Have conversations with other people who do what you do
  6. Seek answers to questions you don’t even know you have

Transitioning Your NextGen Team

  1. Spend time in one another’s environments
  2. Draw out the different ministry areas and find where you already overlap
  3. Specifically, think through grades that transition from one environment to the next, resource sharing, volunteer training,  and your leadership pipeline
  4. Partner with one another as students looks to serve in children’s environments
  5. Share wins and stories
  6. Develop and use common language
  7. Value one another and show unity

Action Items

  1. Evaluate how well you are leading yourself
  2. Invite leaders from other areas of family ministry into your environment

Subscribe | Share | Rate | Comment

To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: Justin Knowles

In the next episode, I talk with Student Pastor Justin Knowles. Justin and I have a great conversation about student ministry, what it looks like at his church, and how to get creative with programming. We also dive into what makes a great volunteer culture. Whether you lead in Student or Children’s Ministry, the principles apply across the board. You won’t want to miss it!

Episode 045: Engaging Kids in Worship With Corinne Noble

Kids' Worship

In this episode, I interview Children’s Pastor Corinne Noble. Corinne and I have a great conversation about creating remarkable kids’ worship experiences. She talks about what this looks like practically from building teams, training leaders, setting up the environment, to the nuts and bolts of choosing music and scheduling. Corinne also shares a unique idea that her team has pioneered in order to engage kids in worship, and the impact that has had on kids’ worship at Desert Springs Church.

Corinne Noble

Connect with Corinne on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

KidminCorinne.com

Desert Springs Church

Click here to register for Orange Conference 2017

Let me know if you’ll be there–it’d be great to connect with you!

Elevate Kidmin

Check out our website to see what Elevate Kidmin is all about and search #elevatekidmin to hear stories of different leaders’ experiences at the conference. Consider gathering leaders in your area for encouragement and development. I’d love to have a conversation with you about how to launch something like this in your area. Click here to listen to my interview with Andy Needham where we talk more in depth about what this looks like practically.

Notes From This Episode

Tips for Creating a Remarkable Kids’ Worship Experience

  1. Expect all leaders, not just worship leaders, to set the example for worship
  2. Encourage leaders to worship with kids, not behind kids
  3. Cast vision to male leaders especially that in order for their boys to participate, they need to participate
  4. Encourage worship leaders to lead verbally and set up the worship experience by explaining what it is
  5. Bring down the lights and bring the sound level up
  6. Invite kids out of their seats
  7. Choose music intentionally and repeat songs

Kids’ Worship Nights at Desert Springs

  • Teach kids about worship–what it is, why we do it, how we can do it
  • Time for small groups to talk about worship and worship in different ways
  • Host 2-4 times a year, with the goal of once a quarter
  • Click here for Corinne’s tips on how to plan a worship night

Action Items

  1. Evaluate your current kids’ worship experience with other leaders in your ministry
  2. Discuss the idea of having kids’ worship nights
  3. Consider building a team of student worship leaders and develop a plan to recruit and train them

Subscribe | Share | Rate | Comment

To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: Aaron Jack Bauer

In the next episode, I talk with Aaron Jack Bauer about self leadership. Aaron shares how he leads himself and what it has looked like for all his Next Gen staff to align as one team.

Episode 044: Core Values for Family Ministry Leadership With John Huber

Family Ministry Leaders

In this episode, I interview John Huber. We talk about the values that he and his family ministry leaders utilize, and how these values help them create a great culture.

John Huber

Connect with John on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Email: jhuber@westsidefamilychurch.com

Westside Family Church

Links Mentioned in This Episode

Good to Great (book) – Jim Collins explores why some companies make the leap from good to great while others don’t

If (book)- Mark Batterson encourages followers of Christ to overcome their doubts and fears and live accordingly to the reality that if God is for them, no one can stand against them

The Advantage (book) – Patrick Lencioni dives into the roots of organizational dysfunction and gives practical advice on how to achieve a healthy staff culture

West Side Church’s Values for Family Ministry Leaders

  1. Leadership: We choose to love first and lead second, but always do both
  2. Risk: We have a big God, so we take big risks and trust Him for big results
  3. Effort: We work hard, give our best, and put family first
  4. Team: We want to take the hill, and we want to take it together
  5. Attitude: We live on the solution side of every issue
  6. Sober-minded: We know who we are and who we’re not and we do what is best for the whole
  7. Outsiders: We exist for those who are not here yet
  8. Model: Follow me as I follow Jesus

Making Values a Part of Your Culture

  1. Review one value in each weekly or biweekly leadership meetings
  2. Write them into the leadership training manual
  3. Host quarterly trainings with leaders where you can repeat and emphasize the values
  4. Provide videos and other quick forms of review

Action Items

  1. Create a list of values for your family ministry leaders
  2. Develop a plan for regularly incorporating these values into conversations and meetings

Subscribe | Share | Rate | Comment

To make sure you never miss a post, hit the subscribe button in iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or Tune In radio. Keep your friends and co-workers up-to-date as well by sharing it with them via email or social media.

Leave a rating and a comment in iTunes to let me know how this podcast is helping you and your ministry. Also, let me know how we can make it better!

Next Episode: Corinne Noble

In the next episode, I talk with Children’s Pastor Corinne Noble. Corinne and I have a great conversation about creating remarkable worship experiences for kids. She shares a unique idea that her team has pioneered in order to engage kids in worship, and what that looks like practically at Desert Springs Church.