Reason #199 Why We Love Small Groups

A few of our 2017 grads. Photo credit to one of our moms for snapping and sharing the pic.

Earlier in May we honored the class of 2017. It’s an annual event we do in our services where we bring our high school seniors on stage and recognize them for graduating. While it’s a regular thing we do (along with churches all across the country), each year is as unique as the members of each graduating class.

For the past few years we have asked our grads to fill out a brief questionnaire so we can make the recognition a bit more personal. Not all of our congregation knows every graduate by name so it’s an opportunity to highlight what our grads have achieved and what they have planned.

The last question for them to respond to was this: What is Your Best School Memory?

A couple of their answers show just why we love small groups.

I anticipated that our grads might point to homecoming or prom or an athletic or academic accomplishment. Some did. In fact, one of our grads was Homecoming Queen this year. Two of our grads finished #3 and #4 in their graduating class. Others enjoyed some athletic success.

But what two of our grads put down as their best memory had to do with their experience in small groups.

Here are the grads own words:

“I loved being kidnapped . . . by my small group leaders. It was always fun being surprised and spending the day with my small group.”

“My favorite memory is having our annual small group Christmas party/sleepover.”

Just another reason why we love small groups.

To the small group leaders out there: You are making an impact. You have influence. Sometimes we just have to wait until they graduate (or later) to see it or hear it.

To the small group leaders out there: Thank You!

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Celebrating Small Groups

Small Group wierd no wordsSmall Groups have been a key part of our ministry for the past number of years. We think one of the best things our students can do is to meet consistently with a group of students and adult leaders to connect, study scripture, pray together, serve together and support each other. I am continually grateful for the small group leaders we have who meet regularly with our students to build trust, encourage and model what it means to follow Jesus.

One thing that I have become convinced of is the need to celebrate the “wins” that happen in student ministry. When you have students for 7 years (6th – 12th grade), it is important to celebrate when good things take place. Much of the fruit of student ministry doesn’t show up sometimes til years later and discouragement can easily set in.

This weekend I saw where our small groups are developing fruit. There are a few wins we celebrate.

We celebrate when we see growth. I talked with one of our junior high small group leaders and he shared how he has seen growth in his group. They are starting to ask more questions and they have volunteered to lead the group. For the next few weeks, each of the guys in the group will prepare and lead a devotion for the group. It’s a great chance for them to get into the Word to read it, understand it and prepare to share it with a group of peers.

We celebrate when we see service. In just the past 10 days, I’ve seen where our groups are serving together. Several members of two of our high school girls groups showed up on a Saturday to serve at our concession stand that will benefit our 1MISSION project. Most of them couldn’t say for the whole event, but they came and served alongside their small group leaders.

One of our high school guys group is serving in our Upward program. Almost every member of that group is either helping with the technical side of the games (running lights, clock, etc.) or serving as referees for the games.

I know that our students are growing and serving in other ways that we don’t always see, but it is encouraging to see specific examples of how our students are growing and serving.

We continue to look for ways to make our small groups better, to equip our leaders more and add additional leaders. While we do that, I think it is worth to time to stop and celebrate the wins.