The Key To Effective Youth Ministry Small Groups
If small groups are part of your ministry, how do you make sure they are effective? How do you know they are fulfilling their purpose? For some student ministries, small groups serve a fellowship purpose. Others use small groups to facilitate discipleship. Regardless of how your ministry uses small groups, as the youth pastor you need to be sure that they are achieving their intended purpose. I do this by making sure of a few things.
- I make sure I clearly communicate our purpose for small groups from the beginning.
- I recruit leaders that can support and help fulfill that vision.
- We affirm our small groups direction by providing material and resources to students in small groups.
- We keep an open dialogue with students and leaders to be sure we stay on track.
Now all this sounds great, but having it happen week in and week out is a different story. It takes a lot of work to keep our small groups effective. And I believe that there are seasons where the purpose may need to shift, for one reason or another. You have to be able to keep your finger on the pulse of the small groups to know what's going on. Considering all of this, and that you are merely one person, how do you make sure your small groups are as effective as they can be? Easy. Invest in your small group leaders. Your small group strategy is only as strong as your small group leaders. I personally have found the following key strategies helpful in how I team with small group volunteers to make sure they are fully equipped to lead students:
I make sure I listen to my small group leaders. I have an open door for them to share with me any idea, suggestion, comment, or feedback.
Keep a strong personal tie
Meetings at the local coffee shop are awesome. So are random phone calls to say "hi." Authentic concern for leaders helps creates volunteers who are highly invested in your ministry.
Be the leader
Don't shy away from tough conversations where you reinforce the standard of leadership you expect from them.
You must constantly equip & train your leaders. Never get tired of searching for ways to help your leaders be better at what they do.
Pray for leaders
Pray for them as leaders. Pray for their families. Pray for the students you don't see regularly, but they do. Pray they truly develop a heart for the youth they lead. I believe in the effectiveness of small groups. But I LOVE seeing healthy small group leaders in my ministry.