Making Small Groups Work For You
Brian’s post below is a great reminder of all we can learn from each other when we gather together. Join us at the National Youth Workers Convention this fall in Cincinnati, OH to connect with and learn from the full family of youth workers.
I cut my ministry teeth by leading small groups. I still remember the uneasy feelings I felt when I was first asked to lead a weekly small group of 10 High School students. I felt so unqualified; fortunately my pastor provided me with a useful curriculum, which set me up for success. After successfully completing that first 10-week series, I signed-on to lead the next 10-week series. During this process I learned that a healthy small group ministry is an excellent place to provide pastoral care, develop deeper relationships, make disciples and empower leaders to do meaningful ministry.
Before starting a small group ministry, you must first answer two foundational questions.
- What do my people need?
- What does my ministry need?
When it comes to small groups, it’s not one size fits all. Rather, they must be custom fit to your individual ministry and culture. Once you have answered these two foundational questions. You will then need to wrestle through three more questions.
First, why have small groups?
The answers you camp up with for the two foundational questions will work as a starting point in discovering the answer to this question. This question helps you discover what your model should look like. Will your small groups be curriculum driven, sermon based discussions questions, or some other model?
Second, how, where and when will small groups happen?
How will you split up your group? There are multiply ways to do this, by age, grade, gender, school or location. Where will these groups meet? I’ve seen them work in homes, coffee shops or church facilities. When will they meet? Picking the right time is critical. This could be a week night or a breakfast club; some have effectively built small groups right into their weekly youth or kids’ ministry gathering. This was the model I prefer. I like to incorporate a small group time before or after the teaching, and change from week to week, to keep them guessing.
Third, who will lead these small groups?
These people might be leaders you already have on your team or you may need to do some recruitment. The answer to this question always starts with prayer. Once you have selected leaders, they will need to be equipped to lead. You’ll need to teach them how to execute the vision, implement the curriculum or format, and properly facilitate a group discussion. It’s your responsibility to make sure your small groups leaders have all they need to succeed.
If you will take the time to wrestle through these questions, you’ll have small groups that work for you and make disciples for Jesus.
BRIAN ENO has served in the local church as a Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor for 20 years. He currently serves as Director of Next Generation Ministries with the Oregon Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. Brian resides in Salem, Oregon with his wife Barbara and their son Jonathan. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook @NEXTGENPASTOR
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.