Steven: Each time I’ve started a new small group, I have a list of goals that I hope to accomplish. Even though I have 2 years with my junior high students, those 2 years fly by. As I’ve been thinking about those goals for this year, there are 5 things I’ve realized that I want my boys to know or experience before moving on from my small group and, ultimately, junior high:
- What a relationship with Jesus looks like. This one is pretty obvious, but it’s also the most important. There’s also an important detail in those words: “looks like.” Not only do I want my students to know how to have a relationship with Jesus, I want them to see me living my life in a way that sets an example.
- Don’t put God in a box. Rather than being different people in different situations and only bringing God out when they need him, I want my students to know that they need to live their lives in a way that puts God first.
- Accountability. This one is huge. I need to show my students the value of being accountable to someone else in the group. With junior high students struggling with more and more, it’s so important that they can find support in someone else that will point them to God.
- The value of the Church. Notice this is “Church” with a big C. We’re living in a culture right now that is moving away from the norms of what church is. In a postmodern world like today, it’s easy to have the mindset of “I don’t need to go to church to love Jesus.” I want my students to feel a connection to the body of Christ.
- How to love others the way God loves us. To be honest, this is one I’m still trying to figure out. Serving definitely plays a part in it, but my vision is more than that. Rather than typical junior high students being insecure and pointing out the faults in others, I’d love to see my guys backing each other up and knowing they can always find refuge in their small group “brothers.”