This past weekend we had our first small group multiplication night launching 4 new groups & marking 3 months since we began serving as Student Ministry Directors of “Vertical NextGen” & implementing small groups into the ministry! Twice per month during our Sunday night youth gathering, after a shorter time of worship & a 10 minute teaching, we have “V-Groups!” V-Groups consist of about 2 group leaders, 2 assistant leaders in training & between 6-15 students eating snacks, laughing, reading the Bible & applying it to their lives! This got me thinking about the differences between youth ministry with small groups & without them. Did implementing small groups actually help us in fulfilling our discipleship strategy? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Below are 4 rewards that our ministry has received for implementing small groups that were not nearly as present a few months ago…
1 Empowered Leaders – Because we’ve taken the time to invest in & equip our leaders to disciple our students in small groups, not only have we duplicated ourselves, but we’ve empowered our leaders to take ownership of the ministry! High quality leaders don’t want to just sit around & watch! When leaders feel like they are making a tangible difference in the lives of students they will grab hold of the vision & lead with passion!
2 Deeper Relationships – Because our leaders & students have gathered together in small groups on a consistent basis where they have the opportunity to eat food, laugh & talk about faith & God, not only have they began to trust each-other, but they’ve become families where the students begin to see their small group leaders as spiritual fathers & mothers!
3 Stronger faith – Because our leaders are given a small group outline to study & pray over a couple of days in advance, they begin to grow stronger in their faith as they search through & study the scriptures! Students who never or rarely read the Bible, are now hearing, reading & learning to search through the scripture & apply it to their lives! Because small groups always end with a time of prayer, everyone’s faith grows when they come back a couple of weeks later & hear how God answered many of their prayer requests!
4 Numerical Growth – Because our small group leaders are building deeper relationships with students & are trained to pray for them, connect with them throughout the week & invite them back to small group nights, overall attendance is beginning to rise as we are able to provide better care for our students & in turn close the proverbial “Back Door!”