I came back from High School camp this summer with a new group of students. Traditionally at Saddleback Church we start out with a group of freshmen and try and keep them together for the entire time they are in high school. This year however, I wanted a group of seniors. I’ll explain why in a later post – it’s an idea that Steven and I have – but I digress.
At camp I had eleven seniors in my cabin – guys that I didn’t know – so we spent the week at camp getting to know each other. During our cabin times at night after chapel the conversation got real. These guys really opened up about themselves and their relationship with God. By the time the week was over I was blown away at how close I felt to them in such a short time. We have decided to stay together as a small group for their senior year. Tonight will be the first time since camp that we are going to meet as a small group.
One thing I want my new group to know is that this is not a small group that is only a “Tuesday Night Bible Study.” I want them to know that I am there for them. Here are some ideas for you to keep connected with a student small group:
- Set up a Facebook group page for your group. Make it private so that only you and your group can see the posts. Encourage them to use this as a quick way to get a message out to the entire group or for prayer requests. I use it as a way to get the word out to them about what the lesson will be this week and any Bible verses that I want them to read before small group.
- Make sure they have your cell number. I encourage them to call me if they have a problem, need advice, or just need to talk to someone. I make sure they know that I’m always available to them no matter what time. By that I mean, don’t call me at two in the morning to ask what time small group is meeting tomorrow, but if it’s an emergency please call me. Again, being an effective small group leader means that you are available to your students.
- Texting. If you don’t have texting on your phone get it and get it now. This is how teens today communicate! Once you have it, use it! I text my guys during the week to see how they are doing and to let them know I’m thinking about them and that I care. Steven wrote a post yesterday about this very thing.
Here’s the bottom line, when you became a student ministry worker or volunteer you made a commitment to your junior high or high school ministry. God led you to use your gifts and talents for students, and the way you do that is to be available! Time outside of either weekend services or weekly small groups is often times where the real ministry work happens – don’t miss out on that!
Question: What are some ways you keep connected with your students?