Doesn’t matter if my small group is 6 in the morning or 6 at night, when I’m leaving I’m feeling empowered and refreshed.  Doesn’t matter if a meeting is 6 in the morning or 6 at night, when I’m leaving I can feel drained and stressed.  When you think about it, small groups are a lot like a meeting in the sense that:

  • It’s A Group Of People 
  • There Is A Leader 
  • There Is A Subject Driving The Conversation

So, why is one resented and the other embraced?

The intention of going into a small group is to build one another up.  In a meeting while there are goals to accomplish, they can easily become battlefields that tear one another down.  While confrontation and tension can be healthy, if your meetings took a page out of the small group handbook, people could leave a little more refreshed than defeated.

To make your meeting like a small group, make sure you:

  • PRAY TOGETHER: You probably start a meeting out with prayer; however, do not rush through it.  Feel free to sit in the silence, to ask God to send down the Spirit through the conversations.  Ask God to open hearts and minds to new ideas.  Just hand it over to Him, let God lead your meetings.
  • SHARE LIFE TOGETHER:  Just as you use the scripture, questions and teaching to drive your groups conversation, develop an agenda that does the same.  When you put together the small group curriculum it’s important to consider the flow of questions and scripture.  It will create a mood and bring people to certain conclusions.  The topics on your meeting’s agenda will do the same.  There will be times when you will have to hold off on a topic because of the tension in the room.  There will be other times when another item will need more attention because of the weight it holds.  Don’t just throw the agenda together, pray over it and allow it to move the conversation.
  • CHALLENGE EACH OTHER:A healthy small group not only has time for information and discussion; but, time for application and challenge.  In a meeting the application to the information you discussed is called an action step.  When you leave a small group you should feel commissioned to resolve and test the conversation you shared.  In a meeting it’s pointless to just discuss items and not walk away with a plan.
  • PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER: Whether the conversation is positive or negative you’ve just endured spiritual battle in your small group.  Before you head off in the world it’s important for a small group to pray for one another.  In a meeting the action steps that have been delegated are going to face adversity and obstacles.  If you can pray for the people in your meeting, then you are giving them the comfort that they are not facing their responsibilities alone.

Granted not all meetings are as thorough as a small group.  Sometimes you just need to check-in and move out.  Next time you are planning that big meeting and preparing the agenda, take the time to discern the emotional and spiritual journey it will take the group on.  If you approach that meeting like a small group, you’ll help your team leave empowered to take on the obstacles outside the organization instead of defeated to take on the obstacles within the team.

How do you ensure people leave meetings feeling motivated?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)


My Burning Question

Geoff Stewart —  August 15, 2012 — 7 Comments

I have just returning from spending the past 3 weeks in Uganda leading a missions trip with our High School students. It was a powerful time, and despite being around teenagers 24/7 I still managed to find time to rest, pray, and think. As I sit at my desk and long for the rolling hills of Mpigi Uganda and the adorable children that live at our property there, I have one question that I can not seem to shake, and its one that has impact on many of us. So first let me give you some background.

Over the past few years I have had the great honour of meeting youth workers from all over the world, I love hearing their stories, hearing about what God is doing in the youth group and hearing their heart for ministry. After hearing about that leaders youth ministry, I often ask them to tell me about their church and the tone sometimes changes. This is where my question comes from: when I meet a youth worker who is leading an effective ministry that connects with and draws students into the Church, where they encounter the living God and begin a relationship with him. But what happens if you are in a Church whose services are targeted at a much older demographic and try as they might, students struggle to connect with God on Sunday morning.I have a friend who has a youth group of 90 students in a church of 300 people, but can seem to get students to make any sort of lasting connection in the Church.

So my question is simply this:

Is it irresponsible or unwise to pour into a youth ministry in a Church whose Sunday gather is targeted at the age 50+ demographic?

Would knowing this be a deal breaker for you if you were applying for a position?



It’s one of the most important aspects of youth ministry.

And yet, for a lot of us, it’s one of the most challenging.

I’m not talking about teaching your 8th grade guys what the Bible says about sex. I’m talking about teaching the Bible to teenagers . . . period. The way I see it, youth ministry is primarily about helping teenagers know God and to be transformed as a result.

The hands down, best way to do this is through teaching students the Bible. After all, this is the main reason God gave us the Bible. It’s God’s most complete way of revealing to us his character and his ways.

If this is true, it becomes imperative that we not only teach the Bible, but that we teach it well. Essentially, when we teach the Bible as it’s meant to be taught, we’re leading teenagers to encounter God. And when we’re most effective at leading students to encounter God through the Bible, we’re simultaneously most effective at setting them up for meaningful life change.

But the fact still remains that teaching the Bible can be intimidating, confusing, or for many of us, deeply uninspiring.

I want to change that. That’s why I wrote “The 7 Best Practices For Teaching Teenagers The Bible.” This isn’t a dry instruction manual. It’s not overly academic. I don’t spend a lot of time making the case for why you ought to be teaching the Bible. (I mean, c’mon. You know it’s important.) What the book does, however, is pretty simple:
• It explains exactly what the 7 Best Practices are
• It makes the case for why each of the 7 Best Practices is important
• And it gives you a TON of practical examples of activities and strategies so that you can IMMEDIATELY apply the 7 Best Practices to your Bible teaching.

In case you’re curious, here are the 7 Best Practices:
• Best Practice #1: Engaging With God
• Best Practice #2: Prepare Well, Teach Well
• Best Practice #3: Context Is Key
• Best Practice #4: Embrace Unpredictability
• Best Practice #5: Plan For Interaction
• Best Practice #6: Teach For Application
• Best Practice #7: Know Your Role

Here’s the deal: I think most people want to be better Bible teachers, but don’t really know where to start to gain the skills. My entire purpose behind writing this book is to make it super simple for youth workers to become dynamic and effective Bible teachers. Nothing more, nothing less.

The question I hope you’re asking is, OK, where can I check this out? You can sample the first chapter and learn lots more info by simply going to this website. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at

Andy Blanks is the co-founder of youthministry360. Andy has worked in youth ministry for 13 years developing Bible study resources for several youth ministry organizations. Andy is a volunteer youth leader with his church’s youth group, leading small groups, and speaking and teaching whenever he gets the chance. Andy blogs about discipleship and spiritual formation daily at

I use a digital version of God’s word every day.  Bible software has taken my shelves and shelves of study tools and condensed them onto a portable library.  Now when I leave the office for my favorite study spot I have all I need to prep a message. Here are 4 of my favorite digital Bible resources:

YouVersion: This is my go to reading Bible in church and while teaching.  It’s free, hold notes and bookmarks well and it is very quick. (Available On: iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Windows 8, HP/Palm, Java, Symbian, Mobile Web, Kindle Fire, and online)

Logos: It is a pain to take a study Bible to a coffee shop much less 5000+ books. If you are looking for a great study tool checkout Logos, it is an outstanding tool, a bit pricey but worth it. Check out all the books at here. If you own Logos the apps are free. (Available On: Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and online)

WordSearch Bible: WordSearch can feel a little clunky at times but it is a very good application, it is affordable, and the only Bible software I know of that has a few good youth ministry resources. If you own a copy of WordSearch the apps are free. (Available On: Windows, Mac, and iPad)

FighterVerse: I use this app everyday.  This memory verse app is rich in features, the $2.99 download is worth every penny.  It currently contains 5 years of weekly memory verses with the ability to quiz me and keep track of the verses I have memorized. My favorite feature may be the “Use Verse as Lock Screen.”  It creates an image of the “verse of the week” and I set it as my lock screen to read and memorize every time I turn my phone on.  At the rate I turn my phone on I should have the entire Bible memorized my summer 2012…seriously, it is embarrassing how many times I turn my phone on in a day (way too much).  (Available On: iPhone, iPad, Android, and hard copy)