This year with my small group of high schoolers, I decided to try some things that I didn’t do with my last group, and boy, has it paid off.
I thought I’d share with you five things that I’ve tried this year in my small group that has brought them closer and has also made them more interested in their life with God. Maybe a lot of you are already doing these things, and if that is the case, keep going strong. But if not, I encourage you to try a few:
1. Remove all social media devices. Make sure you let parents know that this is happening and how important it is that their child cooperates with this rule. Let them know your phone will be on if they need to reach their child.
2. Don’t just refer to a verse or narrative; read it with your students. I’m using Bible narratives to teach the lesson. And we are literally reading through the whole narrative. The first five weeks, we read through the life of David. Every week, hands would go up with questions and comments because even though they had heard and some had briefly been taught about it, they had never completely read through it. So whatever topic you are talking about, find a Bible narrative to help you explain God’s truth. For example, if the topic is trusting in God, the bibilcal narrative could be the story of Joseph or Moses or Abraham. Read through them; it will change your group.
3. Let them pray for each other. I started this thing where I would pair the guys up with each other at the end of group and have them go off and pray for each other. Sometimes we will pray together and I will have a few guys pray and then I will close the prayer when they are done. The idea is to get them thinking and praying not just about their prayer request but about the lives of their small group brothers.
4. Eat the dinner or snack of the night together. I want to model that we are more than just a group of guys meeting one night a week. We are family, and we grow closer by eating together. This is also an area I want to be even more strategic with, like being intentional about what we discuss during snack or dinner time. Maybe share stories about our families.
5. Don’t just lecture but facilitate. Students respond better when it’s a conversation, rather than discovering truth by being force-fed truth through a 40-minute lecture. Think about the fact that they’ve already been in school and have been lectured like crazy by five or six different teachers. So get some questions together, and make it a conversation. Remember, students don’t need deep; they need principles that apply to the things they are facing in life on a daily basis.
There are a million more that I could add, but I just wanted to share a few with you that I believe are extremely important in developing a small group that is growing with God and each other. Would love to hear what you are doing.
Aaron Crumbey oversees pastoral care for the high school ministry at Saddleback Church. He cares deeply about sharing Christ with students and seeing them reach their full potential in Christ.
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