Parent and toddler groups are a frontline ministry in our churches and communities, and although throughout this season of COVID-19 we have been unable to meet as we would have liked, it hasn’t deterred many of you from meeting in different ways, and still reaching out to your families.
As a group leader you may have a host of emotions in this time: frustration as you can’t see when or how you will be able to meet up again physically; concern for your fellow team leaders, and for your families you’re connected to; or maybe anxiety because you’re maybe not doing what others groups are doing to engage with their families.
As group leaders why not take a few minutes out, and look at the bigger picture Maybe in this season the following will guide you to know it’s OK to feel as you do, and help you to take some steps looking into the future.
Taking time out to connect with God and listen to what he is saying to you about your toddler group. This could be ten minutes a day for one week. The beauty about toddler groups is that each one is different and unique. Some are small, some are large, some meet once a week, some more regularly, but whatever your group looks like, let’s start to feel refreshed as we hear what it is God is saying to us for our group. You may like to do this as a team leadership. Have some scripture to ponder in those times, rather than an agenda of items to discuss. This is a time to seek God and listen.
Groups have been on such a rollercoaster. Firstly, we started with immediate lockdown, not much time to communicate anything to our families, then we had to make decisions, maybe through panic as to how we keep engaging with families. Some leaders were put on furlough, so weren’t able to do anything, others had home schooling to manage as well as possible jobs, and then there’s the feeling of grief from not connecting with those families we love to support. Not only that, there was difficulty with online interactions and people having to shield for weeks on end, and illnesses where we couldn’t give a hug, or be there as a shoulder to cry on.
We’ve really been through a hard season. But these times are about changing us and shaping us. We are resilient, we will bounce back and bounce forward.
For many reasons we may have leaders who have decided not to start back again, whenever that happens, and that’s OK. This is a great opportunity for us to look at our vision, for some this may have changed, or the way we look to reopen may look very different than before. Maybe you have seen a new idea that would work well in your group and would like to try it out.
Whatever regrouping looks like for you, this is always a time well spent. Empower your team to give their suggestions and ideas – who knows what wealth of inspiration lies out there in your team.
How about putting feelers out for new team members to join you? There may be someone in church that you haven’t approached before and would love to do something in your group. You’ll never know if you never ask!
Don’t look back to what was, look forward to what could be. It might seem like a mountain to climb, and when you climb your head is down, and your field of vision is limited. But as you get to the top of the mountain the view always looks brighter, a bigger and wider expanse to take in, a feeling of freedom as you reach the peak and see the opportunities ahead of you .
Look forward with a new outlook, and thank God for all that he will do in your life, the life of your team, and those precious families you are coming alongside