I’m a firm believer that student small groups need to be highly relational. When I’m asked by new leaders how they can be successful one of the first things I tell them is this, “Don’t make your small group JUST a Tuesday night Bible study.” Text your students during the week. I try to find time to text each one at least once but usually twice a week. Even if it’s just a short, “Hey how ya doing” text. It means something to students when you reach out to them.
Get involved outside of small group with them. Do they play sports? Go to one of their events. Today I had a text from a parent of one of my new students letting me know he had a track meet today and would I like to come. It wasn’t hard for me to rearrange some things in my schedule and be there. It was awesome seeing the look on his face when saw me there and the big hug he gave me told me that I made a difference today.
Do you have talented kids in your group who are involved in drama and school plays? (yeah, that’s you Jared!) Get tickets and go to their play. Bring other small group students with you.
Make sure student’s parents know you would like to be involved in important events in their kid’s lives. Like most of you I have a super busy schedule most of the time, but with a little planning I can move things around to accommodate some additional time during the week for students. Spending additional time with students sends this big message to them; it tells them you care. You’re interested in their lives and that you want to be a part of their lives and not just someone they see for a couple of hours a week at small group.
Relational ministry helps students in times of trouble, it gives them additional resources to reach out to. It helps you build the bond of trust with students and lets them see the “human” side of you and it keeps them from just seeing you as the Tuesday night Bible study leader.