I know people who LOATHE small groups.
I know people who are in 3 small groups.
I’m pretty sure you can go to heaven and not be in a small group.
I’m also pretty sure that being anonymous in church over a long period of time is not what Jesus had in mind when he demonstrated community. So now what?
I was in a helpful discussion tonight with our team of small group leaders as we trudged through the joy and the junk of teenage small groups. While the model isn’t perfect, I do believe that small groups can produce great fruit, but don’t expect the harvest right away!
1. Small groups give more leaders a chance to actually “minister” to students. My friend Mark always says “any youth program is a good excuse to get students and Christian adults together.” If we youth ministers preach the entire time without allowing students to process, we are hogging the ministry and not allowing the body of Christ to be the body of Christ.
2. Just because a student is silent, doesn’t mean she isn’t participating. (I learned this tonight. I’m extroverted)
3. Candor invites Candor. When a leader is honest about their joys and struggles with Jesus, the group will eventually follow suit.
I’ve been involved in small groups where the motto should have been “come and die with us!” These groups can often become Holy Huddles of inward focus, highly opinionated, frozen chosen people. YUCK!!!!
I’ve also been in small groups where Jesus is at the center, we share our resources, we are real with our junk, we are both inwardly and outwardly focused and we offer grace freely. Yummy!
But then there are the logistics of small groups in youth ministry that make my head spin! Mixed groups or gender specific? All at the same time or all over the place? Same grade or mixed grades? Interest based? Geographical? Should we study Romans, read Blue Like Jazz or just pray? Is this an accountability group or a bible study? Should we memorize scripture? Can we have a “show and tell”? AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
What has been life-giving for you?
What has been life sucking for you?
I would love to hear thoughts as a participant and or a leader of a small groups, especially for youth.