SMALL GROUP FOR YOUNG FAMILIES
by Steve and Kelly Smit
After leading a small group of young married couples for a number of years, we knew something had to change as more of our couples transitioned from “young marrieds” to “young families”.
After many pokings and proddings to do so from Pastor Dan, we decided to “do small group” as a family, and what an adventure it has been.
Sometimes it feels as if herding cats would be easier than settling down 11 kids under the age of 6 (with 3 more on the way) and 12 adults for a potluck meal as our small group time begins at 5:00. Yes, you read that right – 23 individuals in one kitchen and dining room. We’ve become quite close with one another as a result, but the organized chaos is fantastic. After a quick supper and quicker clean-up, the kids head downstairs with two babysitters for play. The adults meet and do our study, pray or talk (depending on the week) for an hour or so. After we “release the hounds” from the basement, we have dessert together and head our separate ways by 7:30.
By “doing small group” as a family we have noticed many positives that we didn’t expect when we started including the kids. The opportunity to travel through life with other families who are experiencing the same parenting issues, decisions about preschool, questions about how to raise our children with genuine faith has been so encouraging. Probably one of the greatest benefits however has been seeing how much our children are enjoying creating their own community.
Our little ones are really excited for small group and love playing with their friends every other week, and it is easier for our kids to adjust to Sunday School, knowing that their friends from small group are there. Also, we have really enjoyed including our children in service projects. This year, we had the kids pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Our families brought an assortment of items, and then the kids were able to draw pictures and select different things from the massive pile on the table to give away. It was a great opportunity to teach them about serving others while working together.
We were privileged to have a family join our small group this year, and they summed it up by saying, “if we knew that small group like this existed, we would have joined years ago!” It has been an adventure, and there is never a dull moment. Some weeks we all go home exhausted, but the community is life-changing and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Interested in being involved in small group as a family? Please talk to Stephen Epp