As my small group of high school guys entered into their junior year of high school I remember feeling a little anxiety. Â Typically this is the year that small groups are tested because of the amount of distractions and obstacles the students face. Â Teens are beginning to think about college, and classes are more intense. Â For many of them they are making the varsity team which means a different commitment. Â Some of them are looking to get their driver’s license, which means they have a little more freedom and a little less accountability to show up from their parents. Â As the teens get older, their commitment to the group is tested.
But, there are those groups that last. Â There are those groups that not only stay strong; but, withstand the transitions of seasons. Â Why is that? Â Is it the leader? The teens? Â While those are huge factors there are a few steps every leader should take to ensure their small groups last through the years. Â Those steps are:
Communicating Consistently – Your group needs to hear your voice more than just at the weekly gatherings. Â Check-in with them during the week. Â Talk with their parents. Â Make your relationship with them consistent. Â Communicating consistently helps you become a regular voice in their life. Â Whether it’s an invitation to join group each week or a shout out on Twitter, letting them know you’re invested will go far.
Meeting Outside The Usual – On top of your weekly gatherings try to get together for a mission project or fellowship gathering. Â It’s easy to forget how hard it is for these teens to find healthy social opportunities. Â By getting them together outside of the small group you turn it from a “church” thing into a life group.
Connecting One On One – It might be a challenge, but when you can meet one on one with your teens you begin to understand the dynamics of the group. Â This helps you lead discussions in your group in a way that promotes depth. Â The teens will feel like you know them personally because of your private conversations. Â It will encourage them to open up in ways they couldn’t have before.
Setting Goals And Vision – Every church needs goals and vision. Â Doesn’t matter if it’s thousands of people or half a dozen, without vision the people will perish. Â Your small group needs goals and vision to grow and go deeper. Â It allows the group to go from a social hour into something lasting.
Leading a small group is an investment. Â It will be tested; however, by getting to know each individual and challenging them with different opportunities, the group will strengthen.
How do you strengthen your small groups?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)