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How to Divide Up Small Groups

 —  July 25, 2010 — 6 Comments

It won’t be long before we start back full-force into small groups during the school year. We’re about to start registration asking students to be a part of an HSM Life Group and on the form we ask for basic information as well as do our best to divide up groups by these 4 main categories. Here are the breakdown of how we divide up groups:

GENDER (always)
HSM divides our small groups by gender – no exceptions to this rule. If you are a guy, you’ll be in a guy group. Girls = girls group. From time to time groups meet together and we do allow groups of different genders in the same home, but our groups are always divided by gender.

GRADE (as much as possible)
So now you’ve got 2 groups of students, guys and girls. Now what? There are four natural divisions in high school, so we try to put underclassmen together and upperclassmen together. That way, students can journey through similar life-stages together as well as be together longer through high school. The larger your ministry grows, the more specific groups you can have.

GEOGRAPHY (if we can)
Groups are split by gender and by grade, and now if possible, we group them together by geography. Often times this works naturally because students share the same high school, but sometimes geography is the one that has to give. To be in a gender and grade specific group, you might have to drive or be dropped off.

GUIDE (we try our best)
I should write “leader” here, but I wanted another “G” word. Lame, I know. Anyhow, we also ask students if they have a particular leader whose group they want to be a part of. We can’t always fulfill the request, but we try our hardest to make it happen. Problems come up with too many students ask for the same popular leader.


Josh Griffin


6 responses to How to Divide Up Small Groups

  1. Thanks for blessing me with your writings.

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  2. Do you keep established groups going from year to year (same students & same leader through all 4 years) or reshuffle every fall? If you keep the existing groups together, how do you incorporate new students entering the ministry in mid cycle (say in their junior year, of half way into any year), that want to be a part of a small group?

  3. I have a similiar question as Nathan. If you keep groups together (same students and same leader) is there a perfect amount of time before the law of undiminished returns kicks in or is a 4 year experience with the same group and leader a healthy thing?

  4. GREAT question – I can totally see strategy either way. We definitely choose to keep groups together through the 4 years. But here’s the deal – that is the IDEAL, not the REAL. The reality is that life changes a LOT over the 4 years of high school, and most groups look very different over the course of freshman-senior. So you don’t have to switch up groups to fight the law of diminishing returns, it happens naturally in leadership and student shifts. JG

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Links and Videos from Today’s Radicalis Youth Track: Small Groups | More Than DodgeBall - Youth Ministry Blog by Josh Griffin - Saddleback Church's High School Youth Ministry (HSM) - February 23, 2011

    […] How to Divide up life groups […]

  2. POLL: Dividing by Gender in Small Groups | More Than Dodgeball - September 24, 2012

    […] Life Groups are divided by grade, gender and geography – you can read more about that right here. Curious about your situation and was hoping you would vote in today’s poll – are your […]

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