I struggled with our small group program at first. I thought they were too messy to deal with. The problem is that I was looking for a silver bullet. I also didn’t know what a dynamic small group should look like.
Dynamic groups are ones that will not only change the lives of students but the life of your ministry. It gives a large youth ministry the opportunity to be intimate. It gives a small one the opportunity to go deeper. To create dynamic groups for your ministry you need to make sure they:
HAVE ADULT LEADERSHIP
Peer lead groups can only go so deep. The main thing they lack is experiential wisdom. Adults can not only share their life story but give a level of accountability you cannot find with teens. They also have the capacity and stability to commit to a group for the long run.
If a group meets infrequently they will stay shallow. Small groups that meet consistently build trust. They mature in conversation. They are able to tackle deeper issues because they know how to be vulnerable with one another.
If there are too many teens in the group not everyone will have a chance to share. Small numbers mean your leaders can focus on a few. A teen won’t be able to hide in the crowd and everyone can be heard.
FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS
Bible study’s are great, but they aren’t small groups. Small groups need to focus on praying together and sharing life together. While there should be content, make sure teens are given opportunity to open up about what’s happening in life.
CONNECT WITH FAMILIES
Parents should know leaders and leaders should know the families of their students. It builds trust and it allows groups to be present in a teen’s life outside of the student program. A small group can be a liaison between a parent and child.
LOOK AT GROWING
While groups should stay small they can welcome newcomers. The challenge is to know what to do with them when they hit a certain size. A solution is multiplying a group. That means splitting into two new smaller groups.
At first there will be a little pushback and that’s because you are changing a relationship. That is why it is important to communicate early on that groups need to grow but stay small. Let your leaders know that this is not only a possibility but a goal.
KNOW THE VISION
Small groups are like mini youth ministries. They are also an extension of your church. For them to stay healthy and grow they need to be connected to your vision. Make sure leaders, and even the students, know the church’s vision. Make it a part of the conversation.
Groups are an important part of your ministry. If you don’t have a small group program start with a few test groups. But, build them, grow them and pour into them. The impact they will have is worth it.
Question: What are important characteristics to your small groups? You can leave a comment by clicking here.