If you’ve led some type of young adult small group for any period of time, you know there are “things to do” each week. Eventually, these things become second nature as you learn and grow as a group leader. And, the longer you lead, the more you recognize the importance of these habits.
So, what does a new small group leader need to know? Here are eight things to consider:
- Have a plan for the next group gathering.
Always be thinking ahead about where the group is going as you pursue together what it means to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. This is where using some type of curriculum or study plan is an essential component of being a small group leader. Curriculum provides a well designed roadmap of where we desire to our group members go in their walk with Christ.
- Keep the conversation going throughout the week.
How can you keep the discussion going after your group meeting? Use social media or texts to ask questions that were key to the conversation in your last group gathering. This helps the group understand that the Scriptures you discussed intersect with daily encounters of life.
- Connect with any new young adults that came to the group this week.
We always love seeing new people come to our groups. Make sure those young adults know that you were glad they came. Send a text, give them a call, send a note on social media, or pick up a pen and write a note and invite them to come back. All of this requires that you get their contact information when they come to the group the first time! It means a lot to a young adult that someone in the group (especially the leader) remembers their name and takes the extra step of letting them know their visit was important to the group.
- Take the time to study for the next session.
Admit it, we’ve all waited until the night before to study a lesson for a small group setting. As a result, it usually does not go as well as we had hoped. Take time throughout the week to read the Scripture passage you’ll be studying, read commentary, and review the personal study guide of a curriculum you are using. It’s important that you’re prepared each week.
- Invite young adults that you meet throughout the week to your group.
As we go throughout our daily routines, we consistently intersect with young adults in our community. Have you ever taken the time to ask if they are connected to a church or small group anywhere? Invite young adults that you meet each week to be a part of what God is doing in your church and small group. They may have been waiting for an invite.
- Connect with young adults in your group that are leaders.
As a leader, don’t think that you carry all the responsibility. Utilize individuals in your group to lead out on social gatherings, spontaneous meals, and serving opportunities. Make sure you are taking time each week to connect with these key leaders of your group.
- Contact young adults that have not attended your group in a few weeks.
Let’s face it, young adults are busy! There will be times that work, travel, school, or other responsibilities will keep them away from your group. Don’t let them think that you don’t notice that they are not there. Take the time to send them a message that they’ve been missed and you hope to see them again soon. Ask if there is anything you can be praying about for them. Sometimes they really need to know that someone cares!
- Pray, Pray, Pray.
God has given you an incredible opportunity to be a part of young adults’ lives. Make sure that you are praying for individuals in your group by name each week. Pray for them to grow in their walk with Christ and how that intersects with the daily flow of life for them. Pray that being a follower of Jesus is not just an aspect of who they are, but it is their identity! Prayer is a non-negotiable when you are a small group leader.
What are other things you might add to this list? Being a young adult small group leader can be one of the most stretching tasks you’ll ever undertake, but the opportunity to see young adults to follow Jesus passionately is worth every minute of it!
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.