Small groups in the youth world have been around for a long time and in lots of different forms. Sunday School, table groups, home groups, cell groups, disciple groups, core groups… the list of names goes on and on and on. There is a key out there that works no matter what you call your small groups for your youth. This is part 2 of 3 of How to Have Great Small Groups. In the first post I dealt with small groups at camps, this will be based for small groups in youth groups and the next post will deal with adult groups. The key for all 3 of these groups is the exact same, just worded a little differently. If you will train your leaders to invest in those in their small group outside of the small group setting, their small group time will become great.
If you spend time outside of your small group investing into those in your small group you will have great groups.
How does this look for your youth group?
Sporting Events & Extra Curricular Activities
This is so simple, really it is. Do you students play any sport? Really any sport will do. Most if not all schools now post their athletic schedules online, you don’t even have to ask the student or their parents when and where they play. A simple Google search will give you all the dates the students play their sports. And then show up. It’s really that easy. For most student athletes outside of perhaps football and basketball, only their parents and a few friends come to watch them play. When you show up as a youth worker, they feel special. Have you ever been to a debate team competition? If you have a student on the debate team, you better be at their competition. Band competition, yep, be there, you don’t even have to know what’s going on, just be there. This is the easiest way to get into your students lives and as youth workers we drop the ball so many times. Dance recitals, swimming and diving competitions, cross country races, and whatever else your students are into need to be flooded with youth workers that care.
Make someone feel special and your have their attention!
Bonus! Take another student or a few students with you. The more the merrier and the more special the student feels, not to mention the students you bring feel like that matter as well.
Going for a hike today, take a student. Going on a bike ride, take a student. Going fishing, take a student. Want to go see a baseball game, take a student. I think you get the idea here. If and when you can, take a student to go do what you love to do. Part of getting into students lives is allowing them into yours. They already look up to you, if you allow them in on your hobbies, they will quickly become their hobbies. Car rides are great times to talk, when you rest from that set of tennis, that’s a great time to talk as well. When you go, take a student.
It all comes down to spending the time to get into students lives.
Bring Them In
Students want to hangout, so why not create the hangout. These are really simple to do and don’t take much money if any. For instance, there are so many classic movies out there that students have never seen. Watch a group of guys get pumped up about spending all night watching the original Star Wars Trilogy, or the Goonies. Does your church have a basketball court or a volleyball court, game on. How about those really big screens that are used for words on Sunday mornings, yeah, those make great video game screens as well. Trust me, food and something to do is all it takes to get students to hang around you. Do it right once and they will be begging to hangout again.
As youth pastors and leaders, we too often get caught up in the lessons and the programs. If you train your leaders and they are solid in the word, the lessons of life and Biblical foundation will be gained in time. What I want out of my leaders is for students to be around them. If students want to be around me or them, I can get them to Jesus. Its up to Jesus from there.
As a pastor I will take youth leaders and volunteers that hustle over those who are incredible teachers.
© Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014