•Small groups are messy. Really messy.
•Small groups are a logistical hassle. Meeting in homes only adds to the chaos.
•Small groups require lots of leaders.
•Small groups need constant attention and maintenance.
•In short…small groups can feel like a BIG pain.

But … small groups are totally worth it.

Here are 4 reasons why we think small groups are a big deal. Feel free to add your own (or a dissenting opinion) in the comments section:

Small groups help make invisible students visible
I (Josh) have 4 kids of my own – a couple of them are going to spend their lives being the center of attention and the other 2 are probably going to enjoy contributing on occasion but usually just fading into the background and allowing someone else to take center stage. Small groups put every student in a position to contribute and be challenged. A church that only gathers in the large group setting is encouraging only the faithful, vocal few to truly participate…others may attend, but very few participate. Small groups help make the typically invisible student a little more visible.

Small groups make any size church feel like home
It really doesn’t matter how big your youth ministry is – it is going to feel unwelcoming or even cold to some degree to an outsider. But when a student is invited into a small group… with only a handful of others it begins to feel warmer and more inviting. Personally, we love small groups in homes because this helps them feel even warmer.

Small groups create a youth pastor minor league
Looking to turn regular men and women into great youth workers? Give them a few seasons in small groups and you’ll be amazed at how their heart and their skills grow, and so will they! Small groups give plenty of opportunities for young leaders to shine. Instead of a personality-driven ministry , a strong small group strategy provides opportunities for lots and lots of youth pastors within one ministry.

Small groups produce Godly students
OK, this one isn’t guaranteed, but a small group environment does allow a great leader to be placed over, care for and disciple a handful of students. You can rest a little easier when a student gets connected in a small group – because you know they have a much better chance of their faith sticking because of the relationships that have been set in motion.

Do you think small groups are worth it? Why or why not?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Great idea from one of our HSM Life Group Leaders over on his blog volunteeryouthministry.com – he has an awesome take on how to thank host homes for opening up their home for the small group year. Good, good stuff – here’s some, more if you follow the link:

Here’s where the title of this post comes in. We used our host home for several years. During that time, I estimate hundreds of students have attended small group there. All of us have made connections with God there and had our lives improved in various ways.

In a scene kind of like the last scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, we wanted to communicate all of the great things that happened as a result of the generously opened home during the years we met there. One of our leaders, Sarah, the one who’s ditching us to move to Sacramento, (hi, Sarah — she reads this blog) — Sarah put together a great photo album/scrap book. On each page a student wrote a note to the home owners. Each note started with, “In your home, I…” and they continued writing how their lives were enhanced through their small group experience there.

JG