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The best small groups must to be set up to win. I know in a perfect world every teen should be knocking our door down to find out who their leader is (we hope it is the same one from the past year but again that is a perfect world) and they are begging to start meeting. We all know this never happens. Like most things that people need, they don’t naturally gravitate toward it. Teenagers need to live life in community but left to themselves they will choose isolation. If you want small groups to work in your ministry you have to set them up to win. Our ministry is trying some new things with small group life so we are really working hard to make sure our new groups are set up to make a difference in the life of our students. Here is what we have to do…

Build the team >> We are working hard right now to build our team. Finding the right mix of leaders can make or break the small group process in a ministry. Some people are going to stick some are not but remember a quality leader can take a small group to the next level. Find people who are passionate and teachable and you will build a great team. These people become the real “pastors” in your ministry because they live life with teens. College students, young adults, and parents all come together to make up our team of small group leaders and I promise…they make ministry happen!

Make a plan >> the best small groups are in sync with the direction of what you are teaching in your large group environment. We partner with XP3 because we want to sync small group life and what we teach from the main stage every week. If you don’t have a plan you are setting up your small groups for chaos. Get a plan and empower your team to take it to the next level and make it work for your students.

Work on the atmosphere >> When and where are HUGE issues if small groups are going to be a WIN in your student ministry. Guy and Girl groups need different kind of environments in order to thrive. Middle School and High School student group meeting times can vary. You have to work on creating an atmosphere and environment that help make group life work for your ministry.

Make it a priority >> If you want group to be a major part of your ministry you better be prepared to promote, plan, and invest in your strategy! You have to make sure everyone knows that relationships matter…community matters. If spiritual growth happens best in the midst of community then we have to be willing to invest time and energy to make it a priority. If small groups are going to be a win in the lives of your students be ready to protect and promote your strategy. 

Evaluate and KEEP TWEAKING >> Great small groups and small group strategies are always being evaluated and tweaked to make sure they are healthy. Community is messy and there are always messes to clean up. When students live life together (rather than just sit in a room and hear a talk) then things can get a little crazy. THIS IS NORMAL, just keep working on it and keep learning! You will never find perfection when it comes to small group ministry so keep working on it!