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!