Every Wednesday night, the teens ask me the same question, “Are small groups starting today?” Last school year was our first foray into small groups on Wednesday nights, and it was more successful than I could have imagined or prayed for. Our teens were sad to stop for the summer, and they are looking forward to starting again as soon as possible!
Currently, the Northside adults who have volunteered to be small group leaders are on their second Wednesday night training session and are excited to lead and mentor our Northside teens. We have Bible-based curriculum ready for them that will help guide discussion and connect what our teens are currently going through with God’s word. This is also a great time for our students to forge relationships with discerning Christian adults who can guide them in love as they navigate through middle and high school. Ideally, a small group leader will serve during the school year for the same group of teens from the time they are 7th graders until they graduate. This is a huge commitment and gives ample opportunity for relationships to build.
Much of what was done in youth ministry in the past has lost its effectiveness. Simply lecturing a group of teens over the course of six years has produced less-than-desired results, and 50% of our teens are walking away from their faith. Studies have found that if a teen can connect with Christian adults who are not their parents, then they will be less likely to walk away from their faith. We hope to facilitate these types of connections within our small groups. The idea of small groups is to “do for a few,” and each small group leader focuses his or her talent to connect with a select few and work to bring them closer to Christ.
This school year we are blessed to have all 15 of our original small group leaders return and four new leaders taking on our incoming 7th grade class. Please join me in praying for them by name as they embark on some very important work. Our small group leaders this year will be Ginny Martin, Jeff Martin, Paul Herrington, Leslie Block, Tristan Block, Jarud Griffith, Kreg Greenwood, Luke Campbell, Jennifer Campbell, Gary Brown, Amanda Hudson, Michelle Lewis, Kathy Bishop, Clayton McCullough, Paulette Ware, Kiley Miller, Rose Shady, Brianne Banning, and Matt Babiash.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).