10 Ways to Make Your Small Group Effective this Year

Small-GroupsI have been a small group leader for years and believe in healthy small groups. I now oversee around 15 small groups for our student ministry. I have seen the ineffectiveness of a small group as well as the effectiveness of a small group. I want to share with you the top 10 ways to make your small group effective this year.

  1. Build strong Relationships with the students– Get to know them, attend a ball game for them, talk and connect with them outside of Wednesday night youth group. The spiritual truth that you want to share and instill in your students’ lives will never reach them if you do not have a relationship with them. Actively pursue this relationship, and they will listen more intently to you.
  2. Be on time– The leaders who are on time usually get the most done. Be there early sometimes if possible to welcome your students. I understand work interferes, and that is fine, but sometimes being on time shows the students that you are excited about youth group.
  3. Disciple Them & Hold them Accountable– Look, making friendships is strong, but we must have a goal of discipling them. Set goals this year for them in their spiritual walk, encourage them to do their quiet time. Keep them accountable when they fall. By the way, if you do not have a relationship with them, accountability will not go as well.
  4. Believe in them– Look, this is something that God is working in my life. Some students irritate me. We must see every student with potential this year. You must as a leader see them for who they can become, not who they are right now. The student must feel that you believe in them.
  5. Know their Parents– This must be a priority this year. Get on the phone, talk to them at church, get to know them. Build a relationship with the student’s parents, and this will go a long way. Reach the entire family. The entire family needs to be your ministry this year.
  6. Listen to them– Small group time for you is more about facilitating discussion than speaking in the discussion. Ask good questions for them to answer (not Y or No). Listen to their answers. Teach the other students to listen when another student is speaking.
  7. Love them– Love them in the good and in the bad. They must feel loved and cared about by you or they will clam up from the very beginning. Your students will disappoint you this year, but love them no matter what.
  8. Get together with them outside of your small group– This means so much to your students. Find time and make it happen. This shows the students that you care for them and want a relationship with them.
  9. Pray for your students– This is a no brainer, and should be on the top of the list. Pray for each student regularly. You will treat your students completely different when you are actively praying for them.
  10. Go after the ones not there– Students want to see you caring about the ones not there. If we as leaders do not care for someone not there, do not expect the students to care for those not there. If a student falls away for a week weeks or months, go after them. This is a great testimony to the students who are there.

Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

One thought on “10 Ways to Make Your Small Group Effective this Year

  1. Awesome post. I’m just finishing up 5 years as the Coordinator of our high ministry’s small groups. All your ideas are right on. I might add #11 Take Care of Yourself. It seems like most groups that fail do so because the leader bombs out somehow–unbalanced life, not pursuing God personally, some sort of moral failure.

    Thanks for the post. Great thoughts.

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