Tag Archives | youth ministry

Do You Talk Too Much?

Small groups are all about discussion. that is one of the many benefits and draws it has for teenagers to even consider joining one. Fellowship is a huge part of it as well yes, but having it be a place where students can actually have a discussion about faith, what the Bible says and what they believe is huge. From talking with leaders from all over, one of the biggest set backs are leaders who dominate the group. If small groups are the place of discussion, they definitely are not the place for the leader to give a 30 minute sermon, pray and then dismiss.

Here are some thoughts when it comes to leading an effective small group:

  • Is small group time about you showing off how much you know about this subject? Or is it a time where you get to see how much your students know about it?
  • Do you like to hear your voice more than you like to hear about how your students wrestle with whatever the topic or passage is?
  • Do you spend so much time studying (which is not a bad thing at all) that you want to make sure you say all you need to say int he group time?
  • Do you say, “Any questions?” at the end of your teaching time or do you start with a reading of the passage and ask, “Any questions?” and allow students to dictate where the discussion goes?
  • Do you value your own questions or do you value the questions your students are actually asking?
  • Do you want to show how close to Jesus you actually are or do you want to help your students get closer to Jesus through discussion time?
  • Do you talk way too much or do you know how to ask the right questions to get students talking about their faith?

When we get students to talk about their faith it means they are actively thinking about their faith. When students get to talk about their faith, we get to see the state of where their faith is in real time. When we stop talking and ask good questions, we get to teach more on who Jesus is and what He wants to do in their lives because we get to help guide them in their faith and doubts and help them develop their own, solid faith rather than the faith we tell them to have.

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Rebooting Student Leadership


I am excited to be rebooting our Student Leadership program. Due to staff shortage for the pass year we had no real student leadership program in place. And we have felt it in our ministry. We’ve had plenty of student involvement and even students stepping up to serve but we have seen student ownership of the ministry go down.

All that to say…I am excited that I get to take the lead on the reboot. Here is what we are going to focus on:

1. Growing in your faith- We’ll spend a lot of time focusing on what it means to grow on your own and how to build space and time for the practice of HABITS in our busy lives. We’ll pray and read scripture together…so students can learn how to do these things on their own.

2. Embracing servant leadership- It is important for our students to understand the model of leadership that Jesus demonstrated while on earth. We won’t be the ASB or the cool club kid at church…we’ll be the ones who serve…who wash feet.

3. Understanding your role in the family- Our student leaders will learn what it means to be part of the family. They will see and experience the ins and outs of our ministry. Not only will they see them, they will learn about their gifts and how they play a part in the family life.

We’ve calendar for 6 Summer “training” days. We’ll spend time together serving our church, community and world while talking about the basics of faith and leadership. In the fall, we’ll schedule monthly training meetings…with these times we’ll bring in other staff members from our church to teach on leadership principles. I am really excited about the reboot and the potential it has for our students and for our ministry.

Do you have a Student Leadership program at your church? What does it look like?

(One of my favorite ways that I have been able to encourage my student leaders is by taking them to the Student Leadership Conference. If you have a student leadership program or want to start one, you should consider checking it out. http://studentleadershipconference.com)

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4 Roadblocks To Small Group Growth

As groups are winding down for the summer I’m just reflecting on how groups grow and how awesome it is to see some leaders just dominate their groups and they are growing in their faith. I love it. I had a conversation with a few leaders a couple weeks ago about things that keep groups from growing. Here are the top 4:

Focusing on knowledge. Wait what? Isn’t that what a small group Bible study is for? To learn? Yes, but what good is knowledge if there is no application in one’s life? Paul says, “Knowledge puffs up but love builds up”. How does a group love? One of the biggest ways for your group to grow is to serve with them. Watch them grow when they are getting out of the circle and into the community. In James it says not to just listen to God’s word but to go do what it says. Growing groups serve others.

Forget Jesus is there. Sounds pretty elementary right? A non-growing group does it’s own thing. Maybe there is only focus on fun rather than actually sitting down and going through a study. A growing group remember that when two or more gather in His name, He is present. They know Jesus has power and that through conversation is where student’s faith is stretched as they wrestle with certain topics. They go through the curriculum provided by the ministry. They pray together.

You talk too much. Some leaders love to hear themselves teach. The only problem is, sometimes the students don’t. Small group is not the time to preach a sermon for 20 minutes to students. There is a time for this and it’s called church. Growing small groups are a place where the leader is a discussion facilitator not a preacher. Are there teaching moments? Of course. But growing groups have leaders who will know how to ask great questions and get students to think critically about their faith and help walk them through their thought process.

Why so serious? No one wants to come to a boring group. Especially students. Studying is great. Talking about faith is great. Bible discussion is great. But I see growing groups have fun! They don’t only talk about things of faith but things that are going on in their lives. They go see movies together, go eat together after youth group, they go play ninja tag in a park late at night. I love fun. Our jobs are fun so small groups should be fun too because even though you are having fun, some of the best conversations come out of having fun because having fun breaks down walls and barriers. Don’t be all business, go have fun with your group and see it grow.

What else do you think keep small groups from growing? What would you add?


(Want to help train your volunteers/small group leaders? Click HERE to check out all DYM’s volunteer resources!)

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Student-Led Small Group Bible Study

One of my favorite things I do with my small group at the end of every year is allowing them to take us through a study. I allow them to take the lead and come up with and lead a discussion based on whatever topic they feel the Lord is pressing on their hearts. They are not always the smoothest, they are not always the “greatest”, but they are a huge part of learning and leading.

I know there can be some things that happen when a student runs things, but I believe those are risks worth taking because of the following reasons:

They read the Bible- You don’t need to be in youth ministry long to know most teenagers struggle reading consistently. But some some reason when they are given a chance to lead a study, they dive deeper into the text than I ever did leading them. They know more about the passage than I do, and it sticks for them.

They wrestle with it- I know when they are asking questions, it is questions they are wrestling with themselves. This shows me what they are thinking while they were reading through it and they want their peers to wrestle with the same.

They are working out their theology- Is everything they say theologically sound? Not always. But that’s why you are there. To help guide the discussions. How are students supposed to work out their theology if we are the ones who are telling them what they should be thinking. Small groups are the place for these things to be worked out and discussed.

I get to meet with them- For every study, I get to meet with the student leading that week for a one-on-one session to go over what they have planned to share. This is where I can help them and speak into the lesson a little bit to help them develop where they want the group to go.

Students need to hear other voices - Again, we know when students hear from people other than you, they will remember it more. I don’t know how it works but it does. Especially when it’s from a peer.

Like I said, it’s one of my favorite things I get to do with my students. I get to see them grow in leadership and faith. It is pretty great. I am always surprised by how great they all turn out. Do you do anything similar with your small groups? Do you allow students to try and lead?

Take a look at some small group teaching outlines students/small group leaders can walk through different books of the Bible with.

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Students Mess Up My Work Day

Today was a non-stop kind of day for me. Ever have one of those. I had a meeting with a volunteer, then a long, tough phone conversation with a parent, edit a sermon that a high school student is giving this weekend and meet with a friend who needed some encouraging words. Non-stop. If I am being honest, I would have not felt as rushed if it was not spring break in our area and if we did not have a bunch of students coming in and out of our offices all day long and if I didn’t have students come sit on my office couch and interrupt me while I was working. When asked, “Why are you here, in our offices? On your spring break?”

They say, “Because you guys (HSM staff) are here.”

I love it.

Jesus was available. When he was asked to come to a guys house to heal his child a woman touched his cloak and he stopped to engage her. He had stuff to do, but he chose the relationship with the women over the task that was on His “desk”. Look what happened when he did that.

Obviously my tone above is one of a joking manner. Hopefully you got it. Was my day stressful? Yes, it really was. Was it interrupted at least 5 times today by students coming in and sitting on my couch? Yes, it actually was. Would I trade that for getting my work done quicker? Absolutely not.

As youth workers, I think when we get interrupted from our office hours because students want to hang out with you, it means we are doing something right. It means we are not only locked to our desk (which sometimes we clearly need to get stuff done) but we are making lasting, meaningful relationships with students who are choosing to come to a lousy office to hang out with you instead of being somewhere else. That is amazing.

So stop. Pay attention. Turn to that student on your couch and engage them in a great conversation. A fun conversation. Take them to Starbuck’s really quick. Yes your work will be pushed back a bit but that relational time with them is priceless. Know you are doing something right outside your office when students are willing to come chill with you while you need to be in your office.

Be available. Be present. Enjoy it. We have the best jobs on the planet. Students mess up my work day, but I love it.

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Why Spiritual Growth Happens In Small Groups

I love our weekend services. I really do. I think they are so fun and I love the high energy that comes along with it. I love that students are high energy and they are being exposed to who Jesus is when they come on the weekend. But even on the weekends, we want to push students into small groups for spiritual growth because of these reasons:
  • In a  large group a student can feel like they don’t matter because they don’t know anyone. While in a small group they are reminded that they are loved greatly.
  • In a large group you can come in and go out without anybody really noticing. While in a small group it is impossible to hide. You will be seen and heard.
  • In a large group there is usually no food. This is tragic. In a small group (at least mine) we feast over amazing food and have great conversations while doing so.
  • In a large group they are listening to the teaching, which is great. While in a small group they can discuss and ask questions about the topic.
  • In a large group there is almost no accountability. While in a small group it is way easier to follow up with students.
  • In a large group we tend to think about our stuff going on in our lives. While in a small group we are reminded that others have problems just like us.
  • In a large group when a student is convicted, unless they come to us, we won’t know. While in a small group we have the time and ability to talk about those convictions.
  • In a large group any specific prayer requests can go unnoticed. While in a small group there is an opportunity to share what is going in student’s lives and be able to pray for them specifically.
  • In a large group after the teaching, students usually will just go home. While in a small group, hard questions can be asked and there will be time allowed for discussion and discovery.

Weekends are a great conversation starter for students. But small groups are where the conversations can continue and where spiritual growth can happen. They are where transformation happens. They are where leaders can push, encourage and challenge students in their faith and really open them up to what God has planned for them.

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Things To Keep In Mind Before You Confront Someone

As much fun as ministry is and can be there always is a time in which you need to confront a student or leader with life choices they are making or they are being disruptive in service. Let’s be honest, no one loves confrontation. It can be very hard at times. Even though it’s tough it is important in ministry to handle conflict with students and leaders well. A confrontation handled well can help launch them into the next level of personal growth in life and with Jesus. A confrontation handled badly can cause way more damage to the situation than their was before you entered into the situation. Hence, the importance of handling conflict well.

So what do you do?

  • Pray before- Seems obvious but if I do forget to one thing the most, it’s this one. It’s so easily overlooked but it really is the most important. There is nothing better than going into what can be a very difficult conversation than going in knowing that you went before the King and gave Him the situation before you even began with the student or leader. I pray that He gives me the correct words to say in ministering to the student and discernment when counseling them.
  • Ask - Ask yourself, “Does this need to be even brought up? Does it need to be handled right now? Am I thinking about this too much? Does it really matter? Does something even need to be said?” Going through some of these things can help you process what is about to happen.
  • Be up front- There is no use to dancing around the situation. I would always try to “warm them up” before actually getting to the meat. As soon as they sit down, I lovingly let them know that I want to talk about something that can be hard to hear but it important because I love and care for them, then I go into it.
  • Be on their side- Confrontation is exactly that when two people are going head to head. If you can’t confront someone with love and with a positive end in mind for them (redemption, restoration, growth), you shouldn’t be confronting them in the first place.  Remind them of this as well—that you’re on their side—and that you want to see this issue resolved in a way that everyone learns and grows through it.
  • Go in private-  Go in private according to Matthew 18:15. A one-on-one conversation. If you cannot overlook the issue then attempt to resolve the conflict or misunderstanding by applying God’s principle of going one on one whenever possible. There is no benefit in calling them out in front of their friends after service or small group about something they have been doing (Finish reading Matthew 18 if one-on-one doesn’t get through).
  • When it gets heated, slow down -When things get heated it can be really easy  to get revved up with them. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and just go for it.  Slow down, get collected. Take a few breaths and think about what happened. The art of holding your tongue is hard and the art of confrontation with a calm demeanor is harder. Not going off and slowing yourself down before speaking will always be beneficial.
  • Point Them To Jesus- Overall, you are to point them to Jesus. As ministers that is what we are supposed to do. We need to use these times of confrontation as teaching and learning for our students and leaders and for us as pastors as well. If we can leave the conversation with the students leaning on Jesus more, than it is a success.

What else would you put? Add to the list?

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Discipleship = Time + Relationships

Matthew 28:18-20 – “Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’”.

I have been thinking a lot about discipleship lately. It’s hard. It’s so worth it. I have been thinking about how I myself have become a disciple of Jesus. I have been thinking about how we as a ministry are making sure we discipling students in a way that they would be making other disciples. My office mate and I were talking and he said something pretty great which got me thinking. He said, “I’m not concerned with how many students we baptize, I’m concerned with how many of those we baptize end up baptizing others. How do we get better in this?” Such a great question isn’t it? It’s a challenge we all need to take seriously and step back and look at how we are doing this.

Looking at what a disciple is: 1) someone who is willing to “go”. They knew what they saw about Jesus and had to go out and tell others about Him. We need to make sure our students KNOW what they believe to go out and tell others. 2) Disciples challenge others who believe to be baptized. While baptism is not what saves a person, it is the public confession of allegiance to Christ and willingness to enter into Christian discipleship. 3) a disciple reproduces themselves. While only some believers are gifted in teaching, all believers are called to share what they know about Jesus with others growing in their knowledge of Christ.

So what does this look like for you? How can you measure this in your ministry? I don’t know. I do believe that our small groups are the beginning of where many disciples are started but we always need to be striving to be better. I just know it takes a lot of time and it mostly stems out of a lot of relationships. As I look back on my own journey of discipleship, I can pin point certain people who were instrumental in my faith. They time they spent with me and the things they talked to me about regarding my faith made me who I am today and I’m grateful. Those people were Greg Tisor, who I used to volunteer for and now is a senior pastor and Mike Brook, who is now the college pastor here at Saddleback. They spent so much time and intentional in their relationship with me pointing me to Jesus.

I’m sure many of us can look at our stories and realize the same thing. There was a lot of time and a relationship in which helped us turn towards Jesus even more and I would love to hear your stories! DYM is a family and how do you get to know your family better? You share stories, so share in the comments below:

 How did you become a disciple?

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So You Want To Make a Change…

So you want to make a change in your ministry? Get ready! There is a ton of things that come a long with changing something in your ministry, some great things and some challenging things.

It’s an uphill battle. If there is a certain culture or thing that has been going on in your ministry and you want to change it, know that it is going to be an uphill battle. Programs can be easy to kill but a culture dies slow and fights hard. People get comfortable with status quo and change ruffles feathers. Just know it will be a fight.

Just because you are passionate doesn’t mean others will be. There have been things in life where I get really excited about certain things and when I tell others they are not nearly as excited, as I want them to be. If you want to lead a shift, you need to get others passionate about your version and start to help them see it like you do. You have to be a passionate leader who lays clear vision so others can effectively see the direction you want them to go.

You have to a broken record. Some of the greatest advice I have ever heard when it comes to casting a vision for change was: “When you start tot feel like a broken record because you repeat the vision over and over is probably the moment when your team is just now beginning to process the vision in general.” We have to be willing to be vocal and be consistent at it. A culture shift will take time.

We can’t change people. Only Jesus can. If we feel God is leading our ministry one way and we are seeking after Him and wanting to do what we feel he is calling us to do, the best first step is prayer. Pray for clear vision. Pray for clear communication. Pray for your team and their hearts. Pray for your ministry and your student’s hearts. If it is where God wants you to go He will begin to change the hearts of the people. Warning: this could take time.

It’s worth it.  The uphill battle, the vision casting, sounding like a broken record, the hard work, the sacrifice, the constant conversations, the struggles, the fights, the hard conversations, the yelling, the praying, the struggle is all worth it if it is going to produce better disciples of Jesus in the end.

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Shake Things Up

We all have a routine. We also all have a routine in our services and small groups, and this is okay. I think there is a healthiness in routine in our groups. Our teenager’s worlds are constantly changing. Their bodies are changing, they are changing in mental development, and the world around them is changing. So having a consistant routine in our groups is a great thing because they can count on it. I think it is healthy.

But with all of that said, I think it is okay to switch things up a little bit at certain points. What do I mean by that?

My small group meets every Wednesday night from 7-9pm. The order usually goes as follows: show up, eat dinner, hang out, bible study, prayer dismiss. They know it like clock work. So this last week without letting them know but working with the parent who lets us use their house, they showed up to a pool party BBQ. The pool was heated, the BBQ was going, we had extra swim trunks and we enjoyed a night of fun and hanging out together. Why is this a big deal? Because we all ended up in the spa after dinner and we had some of the greatest conversations we have had since the beginning of the year. Shaking things up a bit can open the door for a conversation that the students themselves didn’t think they would be having coming into group. Plus who doesn’t like a pool party?

Another example would be this week in our Life Group Workshops. For workshops we have all our small groups come to our student building to get some teaching about a certain topic. It is great because it gives our leaders a break and they can just be with their students. In the middle of the message, we had all of the students get up and walk outside to a designated area we previously set up for a point in the message. Students were shocked and went along with it, but they loved it. When coming back into our room from the message where they were used to the band being on stage for a time of worship, the band was set up in the back of the room, behind everyone. The only thing on the stage was a cross. We prompted students to respond in what ever way the Lord was leading them. Some stayed in their seats and read the words, some stood with their hands raised, and some came and sat at the foot of the cross. All while the band was in the back of them room leading in worship. It definitely was awkward at first because we are used to reading the band on what to do, but students soon realized the band didn’t need to be in front of them and they only needed to focus on the cross and its meaning and they began to worship in a way I have never seen. Students then began to pray for each other around the room. It was so good!

Point? While routine is great, don’t be afraid to change things up once in while to get students out of the “church routine” because I believe you will get their attention and they will be more open to how God wants to move that night.

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The Fault In Our Stars


A few weeks back I spoke on the topic of pain and suffering. Something happened in my message that has NEVER happened before…

A little background:

I had done a little “research” and read some books that several of my students had been talking about lately. Most of these books are written by John Green. I now refer to him as the Judy Blume of this generation. These books are filled with sadness, love and even hope…but they address the suffering that young people may face in their life. His books include: The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines.

I recently read The Fault In Ours Stars. This book is a best seller and is currently set to come out as a movie in a few months. This book had a few great quotes that fit right into my message on pain.


When we flashed the image of the cover onto our screens…and I referenced the book…the room erupted with noise. I kid you not, there was moaning and gasps coming from everywhere in the room. It was like I had posted a photo of a cute kitten being held by a newborn baby. In that moment, by using the book cover and the simple quote from the book I was able to draw almost every student into this tough conversation regarding pain and suffering.

This moment reminded me of the power of being aware and being interested in what is happening in the lives of our students.

Being aware says I know what’s going on in your world…and being interested says that it matters to me too. A easy and simple step that earns you credibility to speak truth into their lives.

I want to be more aware and more interested. How do you say engaged in what is going on in lives of your students?

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What I Want Out Of My Own Small Group

I love my adult small group. My wife and I are in a group with 3 other married couples from the church and we have been meeting together for over a year now. Tuesday nights have quickly become one of my favorite nights of the week for many reasons. When I was explaining to someone why I loved my small group so much it made me think of the small groups we as youth pastors lead. Students should feel the same and get the same things about their small group as much as we feel and get out of our own. Here are some things I love about my small group that I need to take a step back and look to make sure I am providing the same type of experience for our students.

It can be really easy to be getting what we feel we need rather than making sure we are doing the same thing for the ministry.

I can take a deep breath. I know when I walk into small group I can take a deep breath of relief because I know this is a safe place. What I am feeling and wrestling with won’t be judged but will be talked about openly and be prayed for and I will be encouraged by the people in my group. Are we making sure we are creating the same environment for the guys in my group? Am I created a place where they feel they can be real and open about things happening in their life? When they walk in the hoe we meet in do they take a deep breath of relief?

I’m expected to be challenged to grow. I know when I come into group we are doing to be gong through a certain topic and Scripture and we are going to asking tough questions to get us thinking. I walk into group knowing and expecting for me to be challenged in my faith and how I am living it out in my every day life. Is this the same thing my students know when they walk in? Do you expect to talk about things that will challenge them or do they think this is just a place to hang out and mess around at? Students should know being challenged and the expectation of growth is part of being in a group. That means being called out in a loving way, being held accountable, and answering tough questions to get them thinking is expected when they come to group. They shouldn’t be surprised when this happens because it is what they signed up for and what a group is al about.

I am expected to be authentic. When in group we are to talk about life. Not our Instagrammed, highlight reel but the life we don’t usually let others see. We talk about work, relationships, spiritual and emotional hardships. While we talk about them we are expected to be authentic with how we are doing with each of those things. Are the guys in my group expecting the same thing? Is this known? It can be really easy just to show up to group and give some ready-made answers and not really engage in conversation. I try to let my group know that chances are if they are not sharing and being real and authentic here at group, they are not being real and authentic anywhere else in their life outside of group. Group is the place to talk, vent, question things they are wanting to go through or if they are going through something in life this is the place to be real about it. It’s healthy to have this place set in our lives.

I’m in a small group for a reason. It’s where life change happens, I truly believe this. If I am growing in areas in my own life I can help my students grow in areas of their lives. If I was not in a small group and I was telling students to be in one, that defeats the purpose. I’m shocked at how many push small groups knowing how they help in growth in our lives but are not in one themselves. My challenge to those who are not in a small group themselves: be the model of what you want to see in your ministry. You will grow in many areas when you are in a group like described above. When you grow and model this with your students, you will begin to see growth as well.

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Highlights of Youth Specialties Team Trainings

So this weekend I got to hang out at the Youth Specialties Team Training in Chicago. I had a blast. I got to learn. I got to meet a ton of new people. I love the team trainings because they are way smaller than the national gatherings and you can bring up to 15 people on your team for $399 total. It’s a pretty sweet deal. As I’m sitting in my hotel room, here are my top 3 highlights from the 2 day conference:

Message by Doug Fields:

  • Doug is the youth ministry guru. We know this, but he continues to speak to the hearts of youth workers. His message struck me in my core. It was simple, yet powerful. Doug spoke about how our youth ministry culture is one of “business” and how we need to slow down and focus on Jesus. We cannot lead to students to Jesus unless we are pursuing Him ourselves. It was a great reminder for me that I can only minister out of my overflow and I will be taking this back home with me.

Smaller Crowd:

  • I love the national gathering. I like big crowds. I like the convention settings. The trainings are held in local churches, so there is limited room but I love it. We sit in the main meeting area of the church, listen to the session, and then on breaks everyone goes out into the lobbies. It is way closer quarters and I met and had more meaningful conversations with more youth pastors at this team training than I have at the national gathers. It was so refreshing.

Planned Discussion Time:

  • The team trainings have 4 main teaching sessions, like most conferences. But at the end of each session, there is a good 10-15 minutes in which you can talk to your team about practical things to do in your youth ministry. On top of that, at the end of the second day, there were 3 mini teachings and time to discuss it with your team. I like this format because instead of getting a fire house of information and not knowing how to process it, it is within the program for you to decompress it all with your team. Such a great asset.

Like I said. Loved it. It was such a great time of meeting people and learning. I would recommend you going if it is going if it is coming to your area! Have you been? What was the best part?

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Uncomfortableness = Growth

When it comes to leading a small group we need to do just that…lead. Leading requires us to do some things that we don’t necessary want to do. When we lead small groups we are going through passages from Scripture and we are talking about life there are some things that are going to come up in your students lives that will require the hard conversation we tend to dread. No one likes to call out someone, but it is part of the responsibilities that we take on when we decide to take a group.

One of the biggest things I have learned in my own life and faith is we grow more spiritually when we are out of our comfort zones. We grow when we are uncomfortable.

As we go through life with students things are going to get messy. When we read about or talk about an issue the student needs to directly deal with we need to be able and confident in helping them walk through it. It should go something like this:

Student will realize what the Bible has to say about a certain thing.

The student then realizes that they need to make a change in how they think or act about a certain thing and this causes the uncomforted in faith.

We as leaders are to guide them towards that action.

Our job as leaders to push our students to make the right decision rather than the easy one.

The student will decide to work towards that action and we as leaders are to walk them through their uncomfortableness to help them grow in their faith.

When we help student navigate through the uncomfortableness of some real life faith issues we know that in the future it will be easier to take on the next challenge to obedience they encounter in the Bible.

Even though the tough conversation of teaching and correction are not what students love, they are critical to have if we want to see our students grow. Growth comes with uncomfortableness. We know that some of the Words of God are uncomfortable but we as leaders know when it demands a change of mindset or lifestyle, they are even more uncomfortable and we need to walk our students on what this looks like.

Embrace the uncomfortable and we will see our students grow. Have those conversations and be intentional with them and as awkward as they are, you can see growth out of them. God will help us through the uncomfortableness and help us to become more like Jesus.

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5 Signs Your Small Group Ministry Is Doing Things Right

As the school year is well half-way over and we are turning the corner on winter into spring I always want to see how things are going with our small groups. I started to think about what are some signs in which we can see that small groups are still gaining momentum in our ministry. If you have these things it is most likely your small group ministry is gaining traction too.

Your small group attendance is catching up to your programmed service. I think one of the great signs small groups are sticking and making a rise in your ministry is when your percentage of students in services is being gained on by the percentage of students in small groups every week. The closer those numbers get to each other, you know your small groups ministry is working hard.

You are adding small groups in the middle of the school year. It’s one thing to launch with a certain amount of small groups in the first of the year, but if you are adding small groups still it means your small groups ministry is doing something right. You are gaining more leaders and you are pushing students into small groups all year-long causing new ones to start. Super strong.

More and more people in your midweek/weekend services are “known”. Small groups are where students can be known. On a midweek or weekend service, their face might be known but because of the craziness of services it’s mostly surface stuff. In small groups we know those students are really “known” by their leader and the relationships carried over from small groups will show up in the midweek/weekend services. Trust me, you will see a difference in culture.

More students are serving in areas of the church. For HSM, our weekend services and events are our open front door where we expose students to the Gospel. Everything we do is to push students into small groups because I believe that is where true life change happens with peers and a caring leader and experience Jesus. When your small groups are in their groove we want to see student then be able to express Jesus in this world through service. When you have more students serving, chances are your small groups are producing that.

More and more stories of life change are popping up. Stories of life change are powerful. They are one of my favorite things. We do student testimonies in services from time to time and you know when your small groups are in full swing is when every single story of life change has to do with the students meeting Jesus and their small groups have a part in being a part of their story. When more and more stories of life change happens you know your small group ministry is working.

If you are having any of these happening in your ministry right now, chances are your small groups ministry is absolutely killing it and god is moving. Keep it up!

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