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Making 252 Basics Work

Previously, I addressed why we made the change to the reThink Curriculum package for our areas at Trinity Church.  Today I’d like to share about how we use the 252 Basics Curriculum in our environments.  Yesterday I talked about how our overall format for Elementary is a Small Group -> Large Group -> Small Group setup.  Kids enter into a small group environment with their small group leader (sgl) and then when all is said and done, they are right back in this group at the end.  Our Elementary environment currently consist of kids in the 1st through 5th grades.

How do you use it in Small Group Time?

We have struggled to create community for our kids at Trinity, but this year have added quite a few additional SGL’s to make this change work for us.  Our phase 1 of small group setup, was to separate genders and grades.  So we had a goal for 10 groups, that would be a 1st grade boys, 1st grade girls, etc…  We didn’t quite get there, but we’re still recruiting.  In a way, I feel we should rename them “smaller” groups, as some of our small groups aren’t that small.  It’s all a step in the right direction, but we must get more SGL’s for it to continue to work.  We do this setup for our two largest Sunday Morning services on the weekend.  For our much lighter attended service on Saturday night, we simply separate small groups into boys and girls.

Here is the first way we make 252 Basics work for us.  For Saturday nights we use the K-5th grade small group material.  It’s simple to do with many different ages and works great for Saturday nights.  For Sunday Mornings, we use the more age specific material for small groups.  I cannot tell you how great it is that 252 gives us age specific material for small groups.  Our SGL’s have loved it, and there is so much to choose from when creating their Small group leading booklets.

How do you use it in Large Group Time?

As far as large group, we’re still a work in progress.  252 offers three large group setups; K-5th, K-3rd, and 4th-5th.  For August and September we used the 4th-5th grade large group script, but have just changed to the K-3rd script for larger group in October.  We’re trying to find something that works for us.  We pretty much follow the large group script, using 2 (and sometimes 3) people on stage.  We made a decision this fall to concentrate on training SGL’s, and to take the large group leading upon ourselves for a season.  So my Elementary coordinator and myself alternate between storytelling and hosting.  My Elementary coordinator, will also lead worship segments.  So far, so good.  I really like teaching with this curriculum, and find it easy to tweak and adjust for our church culture.

But what about the kids?

The kids are loving it!  They’ve picked up on the 3 basic truths, and I know they like the constant transition between small group and large group.  It’s created less down time that before, and that’s a positive.  We’ve followed the monthly themes that 252 suggests, complete with a decorated stage and stage leaders in costume when it’s appropriate.  For example, in August it was a western theme, and after a week we had kids coming to church dressed up in Cowboy clothes.  Not something that might happen for Sam Luce and his Yankee cohorts, but in West Texas it was a perfect fit.

Are you using the videos?

We do use the Feature Presentation DVD’s for Saturday Nights, and have used an occasional storytime video from these DVD’s when we thought it was a great fit for Sunday Mornings.  We also use the Get REEL DVD’s for transitional elements.  We don’t use all the video on both the DVD’s but combined, we find what fits and works.  It’s a great resource to have!


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.

9 Comments

  1. erin_english · September 29, 2010

    I’m so glad you are talking about this! I have questions… :)

    1. Are your K – 5th together for large group time? (We currently have a different space for K-2 and 3-5.)
    2. For small group time, are you all still in the same place that you have large group time?
    3. How many kids do you average for your largest service? (K-5)
    4. We seperate our kids by grade, and do our best to seperate kids into small groups by the letter of their last name. I love that you are seperating by gender! Is there a specific reason you do it this way?
    5. Do you find that the kids in your kidmin are committed to their service hour and small group, or do you get kids coming to different services/days?

    Thanks Jonathan!

    • Jonathan Cliff · September 29, 2010

      Erin // Great questions. Here is my best attempt to fill you in:

      1. Are your K 5th together for large group time? (We currently have a different space for K-2 and 3-5.)
      We do currently group 1st-5th into large group time together. We do not physically have the space. However, we are building a new Kidmin building; and we will split k-3rd and 4-5th in the new space.

      2. For small group time, are you all still in the same place that you have large group time?
      Our large group space is surrounded by 5 classroom spaces. We use those spaces for the youngest age small group, and then spread the rest of the small groups around in the large group space.

      3. How many kids do you average for your largest service? (K-5)
      At our 10:00am service we average 130 kids, and 180 at our 11:30am service. (That being the 1st-5th graders)

      4. We seperate our kids by grade, and do our best to seperate kids into small groups by the letter of their last name. I love that you are seperating by gender! Is there a specific reason you do it this way?
      We did this, because we felt it was a natural thing to do. The activities are only different by age, not gender. It works well. Especially for the older kids…

      5. Do you find that the kids in your kidmin are committed to their service hour and small group, or do you get kids coming to different services/days?
      This is a work in progress. Currently the answer is sometimes… We are encouraging parents to choose a service to attend, and stay as regular as possible. However, it doesn’t always happen.

      Got any more questions?

      • Kevin Litton · September 30, 2010

        This is great! I am currently trying to figure out a way to make this same transition and timing for when to do it. We have about the same number of kids for our two hours at 915-1035 and an 1100-1220. I am new to the church so I don’t want to rock the boat just yet. We currently use DiscipleLand curriculum and only have the 2 small group times. A couple questions:

        1. How long do you keep the kids in small group before Large group begins and how long are the kids in large group?

        2. Do you have a “Children’s Church” also or do the kids do the “Small group/large group/small group” and then go to a service with their parents?

        3. How well did the change go over with your current small group leaders?

        Thanks so much!

        Kevin

        • jonathan · September 30, 2010

          Kevin // Thanks for the comment!

          Here is my best attempt at an answer for you:
          1. How long do you keep the kids in small group before Large group begins and how long are the kids in large group?
          We keep them in large group until 10 minutes past he “official” church start time. So we dismiss to large group at 10:10 for the 10:00 service; and 11:40 for the 11:30 service. They are then in the large group for about 35 minutes. Large group consisting of music, skits, teaching, applications, etc…

          2. Do you have a Children s Church also or do the kids do the Small group/large group/small group and then go to a service with their parents?
          This is our Children’s Church. We run mirrored programs at each service. Children are only in the main service with their parents at the parents own discretion.

          3. How well did the change go over with your current small group leaders?
          They love, love, love, love it! We are having to be more intentional about creating community-building events so that our SGL’s can get to know each other better.

      • erin_english · September 30, 2010

        I do have one more! (Refering back to question 2) – It sounds like we have a similar large space surrounded by smaller classrooms. For the kids that breakout into the classrooms for their small group time, to they start in the class, come to the larger space for large group time, and then return to their classrooms to finish up?

        Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions!

        • Jonathan Cliff · September 30, 2010

          They check-in at their small group location, and then we all gather at the same time for large group, then return to the same location for the final Small Group space.