8 Fun & Free Ideas for Mixing Up Large and Small Groups

Recently I was listening to a podcast, and the interviewee, in talking about creative ways to run a classroom said, “Do the opposite of what the kids expect. If they expect to be inside, go outside for class. If they expect to listen to a lecture, show a video. Because when you do what’s unexpected, you capture kids’ attentions.”

So we began to think how that would apply to church.

What do kids expect when they come to church?

How can we do the opposite of what they expect?

Or mix it up, so kids are never quite sure what to expect?

Through that discussion we came up with simple and free ways to mix things up for our Large and Small Groups (Note: we’re a smaller church of 25-30 kids on a Sunday, so I don’t know how or even if all of these ideas will scale for bigger groups).

Large Group Ideas:

Have kids stand.

Have your kids stand for the story and spread out around the room.

Create motions for them to do along with the story.

Another thing we’ve done that is really popular is creating exercises with the stories.

We did the story of Paul’s conversion with “Blind Burpees,” “Ananias Ab Crunches,” etc.

Have kids sit at tables for the story.

Recently we’ve started doing service projects during our Small Groups (Check out what we do in this post: 12 Community Service Projects Kids Can Do in Small Groups), but before that our kids would do activities to reinforce the lesson.

What if you combined Large and Small Groups by having kids sit at tables for the Large Group lesson and doing an activity along with the story; then during Small Groups they could do a service project or have extended free time?

Take out or add chairs.

If your kids sit in chairs every week, take ’em out and have the kids sit on the floor.

If they sit on the floor, bring in chairs (if you have them).

It’s a small thing, but it still shakes things up.

Change Up the Setup

Change the setup of your chairs.

Do rows, semi-circles, full circles, backwards (so the kids have to straddle them), get creative.

Go without screens for a week.

Make an impromptu stage and have the kids facing a different direction than the main stage.

Small Group Ideas

Go outside

Take the kids outside for a Sunday and do the lesson under a bright blue sky.

Take out chairs

If your kids have sat for most of the Large Group time, they’re probably itching to do something else (especially the boys).

So why not have them stand around a table for Small Groups; instead of sitting?

Do a service project instead of an activity.

Have the kids make water bottle sleeves for someone’s team in the group.

Have them make cards for you to scan and email to a missionary family the church supports.

Put together art kits for a local community center to hand out.

Have an extended free time

At our church most families come late and our Small Groups go until pickup, which means most kids don’t really get free time.

Have an extended free time for those kids who never get to enjoy it.

It’s just one week, and the relational value is more than worth it.

 

How do you do the opposite of what kids expect at your church? Leave a comment!

And if this was helpful, pass it along by sharing on Facebook!

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Brandon Horst

I am passionate about family, especially my amazing wife, Hannah, my daughter, Emery, and my son Tristan. I am also passionate about helping Family Ministry Leaders lead better. I love new ideas, innovation, and collaborating with other leaders to make those ideas and innovations better. I currently serve as the Next Gen Pastor at Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, VA.

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Brandon Horst

I am passionate about family, especially my amazing wife, Hannah, my daughter, Emery, and my son Tristan. I am also passionate about helping Family Ministry Leaders lead better. I love new ideas, innovation, and collaborating with other leaders to make those ideas and innovations better. I currently serve as the Next Gen Pastor at Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, VA.

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