Want to know why a teenager will come back to your youth ministry? It’s because they feel connected and known. The best way to build that connection is with small groups.
Small groups are one of the most effective structures your youth ministry can embrace. If you really want to have an impact on a teenagers life you need to invest make them an intricate part of your ministry because small groups:
KEEP A GROWING MINISTRY INTIMATE AND PERSONAL
We all want our ministry to reach more teens, but the problem with growth is you can lose intimacy. Small groups combat this problem by maintaining healthy ratios.
I’ve found that 6-8 teens with two leaders are best. That means you have 1 adult investing in 3-4 teenagers at a time. This allows for plenty of interaction without anyone getting lost in the crowd.
As the ministry grows you’ll need to recruit more leaders. As your groups grow you’ll need to recruit leaders of leaders. But, you’ll still maintain those healthy ratios where each teen feels known.
EXPAND YOUR CAPACITY TO CONNECT WITH PARENTS
Parents see you as the expert in their child’s faith; however, your capacity is limited. Expand your reach by investing in your adult leaders and encouraging them to connect with parents.
Your small group leaders should:
- Know the names of their student’s parents.
- Touch base with them on a regular basis.
- Serve as an advocate of your vision and liaison to a parent’s needs.
Your small group leaders will answer the question, “How do we partner with parents?” because every parent will have someone to reach out to when their family is in need.
BRING DISCIPLESHIP TO A DEEPER LEVEL
Unlike a large group program, small groups create a dialogue where hard Truths and topics can be processed. Small groups bring consistent interaction that leads to trust which forms vulnerability.
When we trust others we tend to ask questions and share opinions that will directly impact us. It’s an opportunity to go deeper into the heart and talk about the issues that might be holding us back from getting to know Christ.
CREATE A MORE SUSTAINABLE MINISTRY
Small groups are affordable and they are adaptable. They can meet in many different environments (e.g. homes, fast food restaurants, church hall.) and preparation takes half the time of a large group event.
The main reason small groups are sustainable is that it doesn’t rise and fall on one person. By investing in leaders who are investing in leaders there is always someone next in line to take charge.
As a youth minister, it’s one of the best ways to replace yourself so that you can focus on growing other parts of the ministry.
DEVELOP CONFIDENT CHRIST-FOLLOWERS
As mentioned before small groups are an environment where trust is built. Not only is it a place where teens can ask questions, but one where they can practice sharing their faith.
If we want teenagers going into their schools, and clubs talking about Christ, a small group is a great place to build confidence. It’s where talking about Jesus and the church no longer feels awkward.
The affirmation they can receive in their group will not only bring confidence in their own faith but serve as a reason to invite their peers into the ministry. In the end sharing faith will be as simple as investing in others and inviting them into an opportunity to know Christ.
Small groups aren’t the silver bullet to youth ministry health, but it is a major component. Invest in this structure and you are not only investing in the present program but the future.
Question: Where have you seen small groups make a positive impact in your ministry? You can leave a comment by clicking here.