Steven: Since we wrapped up our series on Temptation, my junior high small group has taken a couple of weeks off from meeting. We have met every week since last October, so I wanted to give them a 2-week break to get into the flow of classes and a change of pace before the official small group launch in October.
This 2-week break gave me the opportunity to try something different. I had always wanted to sit in on one of Matt’s small groups with his high school guys, so I asked him if he thought it would be okay last week. He was all for it, but I also wanted him to ask his guys if they were comfortable with an “outsider” coming in for a week. They were stoked, so I got the green light. Some of Matt’s boys are interested in going to Biola, so Matt asked if I would talk to the group a bit about how God altered the plans I had for my life and brought me to Biola.
This was an awesome experience for me, and I think it was cool for the boys to hear a different perspective on things too. One thing I’ve learned in a few years of youth ministry is that no matter how many times you say something to students, sometimes it just takes a different person’s perspective to really sink it in. It’s always great to have some fresh takes on the things your students need to hear.
From a leader’s perspective, I loved the opportunity to get to meet and hang out with some students that were different than the age I’m used to leading. Going from 8th graders to seniors in high school is different in a lot of ways, but I definitely saw some moments that made me feel like I was back at home in my junior high group!
If you have the opportunity to either speak to a different group of students or bring someone else in, I highly recommend it. The different speaker may just be the thing your students need to take them to the next level.
Matt: Having a guest speaker come to your small group can bring a different perspective to the group. It’s a change from the ordinary and can being some fresh air to a group. This past week Steven came and spoke to my high school small group. I have all seniors this year and I knew that some of them are “college shopping” and trying to figure out what they want to do in life. When Steven asked about coming to my group one night, I knew what I wanted him to talk about, his education path to Biola and how he got there. My guys loved it! It was a different voice besides mine talking to them, Steven is closer to their age, so hearing him talk about college and his senior year in high school had a tremendous impact on them. Almost all of them text me afterward and thanked me for having Steven come talk to them. (I also noticed they all added Steven on Facebook the next day so that also showed me how they had appreciated him talking to them.)
While Steven was talking with my guys, I kept watching them. They were all listening and as he talked about events in his senior year of high school I could tell they were all connecting with Steven and could relate what he was saying to their own lives right now. It was a big plus for my group and added an element that I couldn’t have the same impact. I plan on having Steven come back and talk to them again in the future. One thing I did…I knew I wanted Steven to come talk to my guys, but I wanted to get their permission first as well. After all this is their group and I didn’t want to bring in an outsider without seeking their input first.