"let's talk": utilizing discussion groups in your youth group
Many youth groups set aside time each week for discussion in groups following the message. This time gives the student the opportunity to talk about the topic in a small group setting. They can ask questions, dialog, and discuss the content of the message for deeper application.
At Crossroads, discussion groups are part of the fabric of who we are. Discussion groups were part of the ministry prior to my arrival, and chances are, they will be part of the ministry long after I'm gone. Whether you choose to have a time of discussion or not is, of course, up to you. But what I want to do is share with you a simple structure we recently adopted that helps us shape our weekly discussion time.
We refer to our discussion time as dGroup. Why? Glad you asked . . .
d is for discover! Discover what you don't know about your students. Start each week's dGroup with simple discovery. What's going on in their world? What's coming up in the week ahead? What's happening at home? What do they like to do for fun? Simple questions that help you unlock the world of your students. As a dGroup leader, you need to know your students, share in their lives, and help them grow.
d is for discussion! Each week, group leaders ask a series of questions designed to get the students talking about the topic of the night. Discuss the questions, listen to the students as they share their thoughts, ideas, and life with you. Sometime we list two or three questions, and other times we list as many as ten shorter questions. But the amount is as important as the question itself. No "yes" or "no" type questions. You want open ended questions that create dialog between the students in the group.
d is for disciple! Jesus discipled the 12 men that He called to be part of His earthly ministry. dGroup group leaders are to disciple the students in your group. Now this isn't deep spiritual training. But dGroups help to reinforce the truths of Scripture, challenge them to grow in their faith, and encourage to live boldly for God's glory. For more intentional discipleship, small groups or mentoring is more effective and practical. However, I think we should take advantage of times like dGroups to go one step further with students.
d is for delight! Have fun with your group! Set aside some time each week for some fun. Laugh with your group. Grab some ice cream or coffee following youth group. Have dinner before coming to youth group. Plan to meet and do something fun together outside of the scheduled weekly gathering.
Discussion groups or not, these four simple building blocks can help you be more intentional when you have time with your students. Discover, discuss, disciple, and delight with your students.