Follow up and follow through

Matt: Sometimes one of my faults is not following up on things. I really need to write things down, keep things in my Outlook calendar to remind me to do something or to re-visit something I’ve started but not finished. Sometimes I get so busy with a new project that I forget to go back and make sure the old project I was working on is complete or if it needs some further attention. I need to do this with with my high school small group as well. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in presenting a new lesson or new scripture or a new life application that I forget to go back and see how my guys are doing with things we’ve already talked about.

I don’t forget about one of my guys who has been going through a tough time or dealing with a specific issue, I’m great at follow up with that, but sometimes I forget about the general topics we talk about. For instance a few weeks ago my guys asked if we could do a lesson on girls and dating and sex and what the Bible says about these things. We had a great lesson that night and I know I made them really think about how a relationship would look like and how to make sure that they put God in the center of all of their relationships. This past week I got a text from one of my guys asking some very specific questions about what the Bible says about an issue. That should have been my reminder that I need to follow up with all of them and see how they are doing with that topic. I need to build a reminder into each small group time to begin and ask questions about past topics and make sure everyone is still on task with prior topics.

Steven: This is one of the posts I’m writing based on a challenging realization I’ve had, not necessarily a success. My co-leader and I have realized recently that we’re great about having good small group discussions and challenging our guys to do something, but we almost never come back to check up on them. If we issue a challenge the week before, there’s no incentive for to follow through because we don’t check to see how they did.

Last week that changed. We realized we needed to do some follow-up based on a small group discussion we’d had with the guys 2 weeks earlier on “identity.” We challenged the guys that week to live consistent lives, not ones that changed depending on where they were or who they were trying to impress. To follow up with them last week, here’s what we did:

  • We decided we didn’t want to do any of the talking. That night was all about the guys, so we did our best to get them talking and dialoging with each other. A few times we had to ask a basic question to keep it going, but for the most part they had the bulk of the conversation.
  • We encouraged them to reflect on their time thinking about the topic. One of the directions we tried to lead them in was how they have been successful (or unsuccessful) in living consistent lives.
  • We offered follow-up to the follow-up. Once the boys reflected and talked about the topic a little bit, we would offer them a follow-up challenge to keep them on the right track or help them be more successful in it.

It’s easy for students to hide behind the flow of ever-changing small group lessons without reflecting and following up on previous weeks. Maybe this week will be a good opportunity to check up on your students and allow them to talk back.

Question: How do you ensure follow-up happens in your group? Post your thoughts here.

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