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Reply to "Article: Workshop Rotation in Small Churches, Few Kids"

"Tips for Small Churches"

...collected ideas from posts here at our site:


  1. Some workshops, such as, the Bible Games and Drama workshops, can be harder with small numbers unless you are careful about the KINDS of games or dramas you use.

    Big group games need to be reformatted. Kids can play multiple roles in dramas.

    Whereas, other workshops, like art, computers and cooking are EASY with small numbers, and where attendance varies unpredictably.
  2. Some workshops or styles of lessons that involve more READING and comprehension are harder in small churches where the age range might be BROADER.  

    Take a close look at your lessons and look for ways to make sure your younger kids aren't ignored or lost, and your lessons aren't "beneath" your older kids in a broadly graded situation.
  3. In many small churches, teachers have to teach more than ONE workshop. It's a good idea to have them teach back to back weeks in the rotation so that they maintain some continuity.
  4. In churches with just one or two rotating classes, but a larger number of rooms (as is sometimes the case in an older/larger facility), it's a good idea to put out a SIGN in the hallway to tell parents where their kids' class is that week.
  5. It may be harder in a small church to be as creative as the Rotation Model wants to be (because you have fewer people helping), so look for EASY creativity, as opposed to complex.

    For example, don't burn volunteer time on painting extensive "Bible" murals, instead, bring in creative props, such as, a beach or camp theme. 

    Use the Writing Team's lessons, instead of writing your own, or cobbling together lessons from incomplete posts found elsewhere. 

    Purchased Rotation curriculum all seems to be written for class sizes of 5+ kids.
  6.  Don't SKIMP !  You want more kids.

    Posted by Sandy W:
    Definitely do not get discouraged. When I started rotation, I sometimes had only 3 children there and I do multi-age, so this was all the children there in total, not just in one group. I stuck with it because I believed in it. After one year, we average 15 kids every sunday. Rotation works, kids will begin to tell friends and it will become contagious. I have kids that set their alarm clocks and wake their parents up because they don't want to miss Sunday School. Hang in there!!!

    Posted by NancyDir:
    Yes we can! We started our rotation out with 3 children. The kid's had a blast then and after 5 years they still coming are along with the 37 children which have joined us since starting rotation!
  7. Note your PEAK attendance times of the year and roll out your "big" rotations then. Plan for easier or less-attendance dependent activities during your LOW times of the year.
  8. Because Week to Week Attendance can FLUCTUATE greatly in small churches, recruit an extra helper to show up and "check in" at the beginning of every workshop to see if extra help is needed.
  9. Treat your older students like helpers so they don't feel like they're being treated like one of the "little kids".  Give them special roles and tasks. "Graduate" them to "Guide" status or the like, while they continue to help in the classroom. Give them visible roles.
  10. Here's one of the BIG ADVANTAGES of doing the Rotation Model in smaller churches that have broadly graded classed:  ACTIVE creative approaches AGE ADJUST easier than typical sedentary "worksheet centered" curriculum.   Cooking and Art, for example, tend to age adjust all on their own. 
  11. On those Sundays when FEW children attend, pull out something really special to do or snack on. Kids are aware of "where is everybody?" so don't reinforce that feeling. Instead, make them glad they were the only ones there.  
  12. Always have a back-up workshop or lesson plan for those weeks when your attendance is problematic. The computer workshop is our kids favorite "let's play!" workshop (though they are really learning, just don't tell them!).   Some Sundays, we'll ditch the lesson plan and go help set up communion. One Sunday we got a tour of the organ and the kids were allowed to play it. They loved that.  Have a few of these "emergency plan" activities pre-planned and ready so it's no surprise to the organist or pastor.  This also keeps the kids from thinking that the "big game workshop with only 2 of us" was a bust!


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