Home Youth Leaders Youth Leaders Blogs Generation to Generation: Lighten Up

Generation to Generation: Lighten Up

Matt: I look forward to Wednesday nights when I meet with my high school small group guys. I want them to look forward to Wednesday night as well. One thing we need to remember is that small group needs to be fun for students. We have a serious time for Bible study, but we also take time each week to give each guy a chance to talk about his week, how things are going, and about his life in general. It usually just takes one guy to start talking about a tough time he is going through, or a problem and that usually opens up the rest of the group to talking about a problem that he is having. We spend time towards the end of the night on prayer requests. One thing we try to do is have fun each week, and set aside a day every now and then for just fellowship, and fun. Fellowship helps bond your group together. If you have students that don’t attend the same school, they might only see each other on small group night.

One important thing for leaders, on fun and fellowship night…be a kid!! Play dodge ball with them, play video games with them, whatever the game, join in! Participate, don’t just stand by and watch! Don’t bring your laptop and try to catch up on work from the office. This is a time for students and it shows your students that you were a kid once, that you’re not just some guy that wants to lead a Bible study, and it shows them you care. In short it helps bond you to them. With that bond comes trust, with trust comes the ability to open up to you and share what’s going on in their lives. And with that comes the opportunity to teach and show them how different their lives can be when they involve Jesus in every part of their life. When I’m having fun, playing some games or sport activity with my guys it also reminds me not to take myself too serious. Getting whacked in the head with a dodge ball helps keep you humble, trust me I know!

Steven: I’ll admit that I’m probably not the best person to be talking about this. So many times I find myself stressing over time restraints because we only have a set amount of time, and there’s so much Jesus I want to pump into my small group guys! I don’t want it to be wasted on useless games and un-constructive talking. The fact is, however, some of the best ministry moments happen when you’re not being intentionally Jesus-minded. The idea of simply showing your students that you’re a real person and not some Bible-thumping, never-stop-preaching small group leader is super important to making positive, trust-building relationships. THAT is where real ministry comes from.

One of the best things I ever did with my 7th grade group is a sleepover (actually a misnomer – there’s usually no sleep involved) in our student building at Saddleback Church. 13 students and 2 leaders got to take over the entire building that night for an amazing time of fellowship, bonding and a ton of laughing. The best part of it was God’s great timing. It happened to work out that we were able to plan the sleepover only two months after the group came together, but after that night, no one could’ve known that the group had only known each other for two months because everyone became so close. There’s just something about staying up all night, throwing dodge balls at each other, having NERF gun wars and playing hide and seek that grow a group together, and not one time did we have to mention Jesus. It just worked. In all honesty, it probably doesn’t take a sleepover to make your small group bond and be more fun. Start small, like a game of ultimate Frisbee in the park, and see where God takes it.