Leading a conversation with a small group of kids isn’t always easy.

Sometimes they talk too much—way too much. Sometimes they don’t talk enough. And sometimes you’re pretty sure your volunteer training didn’t quite prepare you for the sort of things they’d like to talk about. Actually, if you’ve been a small group leader for at least five minutes, you probably already know what it’s like for a small group conversation to totally bomb.

So if you’ve ever looked at your small group and wished you knew what to say, what not to say, when to speak, when to listen, how to make them talk, how to make them stop talking, then The Art of Group Talk is for you. Because, as a small group leader, you lead a conversation with kids every single week: conversations about their lives, their dreams, their friends, their imaginary friends, and their definitely-not friends. And sometimes you even manage to lead conversations about faith. This book can remind you that your small group conversations—even the ones that don’t go exactly as planned—really matter. But there are a few ways to make your conversations matter even more.

The Art of Group Talk is part of a series of books for leaders of kids, teenage girls, and teenage guys.

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Afton Phillips is the Lead Small director at Orange—which basically means she has been thinking about small groups, small group leaders, and small group strategies every single day since 2012. Before that, she spent three years working in children’s ministry at Browns Bridge Church and graduated from Johnson University with a degree in children’s ministry. But most importantly, Afton leads a small group of second graders every Sunday. If you want to be Afton’s best friend, all you need to do is buy her a black coffee and let her wear a tiara all day. She strongly believes tulle skirts should be worn every single day, and her favorite place is any giant used book store.

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Lauren Terrell


Adam Duckworth is the lead communicator at Downtown Harbor Church, a forward-thinking church committed to reaching families and embracing culture in its community. He transitioned to this role after spending nearly 15 years in family ministry. Adam has written several books for volunteers and leaders of volunteers. He also leads conferences for volunteers and serves as a communicator at Orange. He and his wife, Katelyn, live near the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, along with their petite goldendoodle, Dottie.

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