Small groups are essential to a growing youth ministry. It’s where teens can connect with their peers and receive wisdom from God-loving adults. And while content is important to a group, it’s your leaders that take them to a new level.
To reach that level groups need to be healthy. And, every healthy small group is lead by a strong leader. These leaders are more than just warm bodies that show up to your ministry. A healthy and strong small group leader is someone who:
KNOWS MORE THAN NAMES
Every small group leader should strive to get to know the teens on a personal basis. That means asking questions and spending time getting to know their:
- School, clubs and activities
- Family (especially parents)
- Motivations and hinderances.
When a teen feels like someone knows them they are more likely to open up. And if a teen can open up trust will fill the relationship.
CHECKS IN DURING THE WEEK
There is a lot that will happen to a teenager during the week. They need encouragement, wisdom and accountability. A wise small group leader knows to check-in with the teen, and even their parents.
Encourage your leaders to text, call or email their teens. Have them touch base before a big game, important test or during a difficult time. Make ministry happen more than just once a week.
GOES DEEPER WITH THE CONTENT
A strong small group leader will do more than what’s required. Set high expectations and coach your leaders to step up.
Healthy small group leaders will rise to the occasion. They will invest in personal growth, break open the scripture and prepare themselves to go deeper in conversation. In the end they will have more confidence.
UNDERSTANDS THE MESSINESS
Some weeks the teens will be carrying on a deep conversation and other weeks it will feel like Satan has taken over. A healthy small group leader knows that patience is often needed when leading a group of teens.
As the youth minister you need to encourage your leaders to have patience and listen beneath the noise. When a small group leader understands that there is a story beneath the story they are able to guide a group through messiness.
COMMITTED TO THE VISION
When your small group leaders know the vision, then they are aligned to it. When you have someone committed to your vision it creates allies and momentum.
You should want small group leaders who are for you and not against you. While they can critique and give you feedback they need to be committed to the overall vision. Remind them of the vision as frequently as possible.
ADVOCATES FOR THE MINISTRY
You only have so much capacity. A strong small group leader understands this so they will help you grow. Some of your best advocates are your own leaders because they are breathing and living the ministry.
Set them up for success by giving them authority to share their story and recruit new volunteers. Remind them of the vision and bring them to opportunities where they can mingle.
When you have strong small group leaders you have healthy groups. You will find leaders who know how to grow groups and they will be inspiration to your other leaders. Lift them up, thank them and help them grow so that your ministry can hit new heights.
Question: What other characteristics would you recommend a small group leader for teens have? You can leave a comment by clicking here.