August 9, 2010
Why don't we see more "full family" small groups?
I'm on the home stretch for our next featured download, "Effective Intergenerational Small Groups," and I was really intrigued by an article written by Scottie May (my former teacher at Wheaton College).
Scottie's article tackles several of the faulty assumptions that small groups and churches seem to hold regarding intergenerational groups, and I think she has hit the nail on the head. Here is a quick list of the three main assumptions she writes about:
- A low view of children. Adults in a small group feel that children have low attention spans, are easily bored, and would not contribute to the overal group experience.
- A misguided view on how learning "should look." Group leaders feel like they would have to "dumb down" the material in order to make it applicable to children, which would significantly lessen the impact of the study for adults. Basically, this assumption is that groups should be primarily focused on the transfer of information, which would be hindered by kids.
- Parents want a break. This assumes that parents view their small group as a form of "date night," or at least as a time to finally get some adult conversation. This includes the assumption that children are being spiritually formed at an appropriate level through other avenues within the church—Sunday school, youth groups, etc.
Scottie's claim is that these are all faulty assumptions. What do you think? Would you resist having children in your group based on any of these factors? Or if you do have children in your group, what has your experience been like?