Small groups are essential for discipleship. It is only through relationships can students truly experience biblical discipleship within a student ministry. This requires committed adults who will invest their lives into the lives of students. These adults, while committed, may not feel equipped at leading a small group. One major concern with new or even veteran small group leaders is keeping their students “dialed in.” The guys at YM360 posted a great article with 6 tips on how to keep students “dialed in” to discussion.
Check out YM360 for other great articles and resources.
YM Essentials: Keeping A Small Group “Dialed In”
by: Heather Johnson
My first attempt at discipleship, years ago, was a bit rocky. My small group was made up of 7th grade girls. They were great kids, but they couldn’t sit still to save their lives.
One particular girl was notorious for bringing some type of toy or gadget to each group meeting.
I specifically remember the week she brought bright colored duct tape. Throughout the course of the meeting she continued to add this touch of flare to the chairs, the walls, and even to the other girls. Toward the end of the meeting (about the time I’m feeling like a total failure), she proceeded to tape her mouth closed. Because this obviously limited her breathing ability, she panicked and ran out into the hallway with all of the girls chasing her and screaming.
I finally managed to regain some sort of control, and we closed the night in prayer . . . one of the only spiritual elements of the entire hour! Though this particular incident was somewhat isolated (and extreme), the students’ limited attention span and lack of focus was fairly common from week-to-week. What I learned with experience is that this is, of course, common in most groups of teenagers, especially younger ones.
What are some key approaches for us youth workers to keep your group “dialed in”?
The following suggestions are by no means the only answer, but simply a few of the principles that have helped me rein a group back in.