In my nearly 15 years of consulting small group churches, training small group leaders, and taking calls from hundreds of small group pastors, childcare is the number one question asked of me (without a close second).
Here are some childcare options that work:
1. The children and the adult group meet in the same home.
The adults meet in the living room while the children are being watched in another part of the house.
2. The children are being cared for in a home within an 8-minute drive of the home where the adults are meeting.
During the meeting one cell phone remains on. Choose the person’s phone that gets the least amount of calls. This is the designated phone in case there’s an emergency where the children are being watched. If that phone rings, all stops until the group is certain if there is an emergency with the children.
3. The children are cared for at the church while the adults meet throughout the city.
During this time the church may host ministries for the children. This means all groups must meet on the same night and at the same time and that every group member pick their children up on time.
Concerning Who Does Childcare
1. Groups care for one another’s children.
A group that meets on Tuesday night may partner with a group that meets on Thursday night. The Thursday night group is responsible to send two people to watch the children during the Tuesday night group’s meeting. The Tuesday night group does the same for the group that meets on Thursday night.
2. Many churches use teens from the church to take care of the children during the meeting.
This is often very settling for the parents of the children as the parents can utilize the teens that are already being hired to baby sit their children on date nights.
3. Group members take turns doing childcare.
In some groups, group members take turns watching the children during meetings. In these situations, a couple of people are with the children during the adult meeting time then the next week a different couple take care of the kids while the adults are meeting. This rotating system can work, but there isn’t consistency in the group dynamic.
Rick Howerton has one passion — to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is pursuing this passion as the small group and discipleship specialist at LifeWay Church Resources.