One of my biggest passions in youth ministry is small groups. We are in the process of restructuring our small groups and during the year I have noticed some groups are doing well while others are not. Why do some groups seem to grow more than others? When taking a closer look, here is what I can point out:
Over kill on knowledge
Seems weird right? But there were some groups who would dive very deep into a section of the Bible or go through study after study… and that would be it. Paul says “knowledge puffs up” and that is what it does. You think you know everything but it means nothing with out actions as James says. Groups that would grow would teach on serving and then the next week would go out and serve. When they taught on prayer, they would have a prayer night. Knowing is great, but there needs to be more or a group will be stunted.
One of the goals for our small group ministry is to get every group to have co-leaders. There is something about having support that eases the pressure off of our volunteers. The groups that had more leaders seemed to grow more. So if a leader didn’t have another adult to lead with them they didn’t grow? Not at all. If the leader raised up some leaders within the group, the group will naturally grow more in every way.
We never want to meet just to meet. Goals and desires for growth are crucial for growth. If you don’t have goals for growth then you are not a small group, you’re just a group of people who meet together. Have leaders write down their goals for the group and have students write their spiritual growth goals as well and have leaders hold them accountable.
Stunted groups have consumers in which do nothing to pour into the group. A healthy group will have people who share their gifts, passions and bring something to the group. If students feel like they have capital in the group, it unleashes them to grow in ways we never would have imagined.
Leaders who don’t cultivate a culture of authenticity, honesty, and real-ness with their groups will cause their group to be stunted in growth. Nothing kills a small group more is shallow relationships because the whole purpose of a small group is a place to be real, open and be able to share things going on in life. Groups that do not have this are not growing.
Taking themselves too seriously
No one likes a boring group. There, I said it. Mix it up. Have fun. Play a game before. Take the group to In-n-out (sorry east-coasters). Laughing breaks down walls and can lead to deeper conversations later.
Header image provided through creative commons by London Public Library.