Steven and I are both small group leaders at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Steven has a junior high group, I have a high school group. We are also both on the staff at Saddleback. Not gonna lie, there are a ton of advantages to attending and working at a mega church. We have friends on Saddleback’s staff in all kind of ministries so that opens the door to a lot of opportunities for us and our guys in our small groups. Virtually any resource you can think of, we have available to us. But there are disadvantages to a mega church as well.
First, because of the size of our student ministries, it’s easy for a new student to get lost in the crowd. It’s easy to be a room with a thousand other students and be alone. Each weekend when I’m in our student ministry building I look for new faces that I haven’t seen before, or that one kid sitting alone. I do my best to say hi, ask their name and what school they go to. I then try to find other students from that school who I already know and try to get them to sit together. Second disadvantage, its easy for kids who attend each week to be “wallflowers”, to just sit back and watch and not really participate. We also get a lot of students whose parents attend “big church” and the student is just killing time in the junior high or high school service while they wait for their parents to pick them up, or more likely they are just hanging out in the student ministry building and not attending a service. Those are the kids I’ve decided to focus my time on this summer.
I just saw that our High School Ministry (HSM) has posted their summer calendar of events. My goal will be to get the students who don’t participate to show up for one of the “fun” events. My hope is that they will bond with some of our “core” students and become more active in ministry, and then start showing up and participating in the weekend services. A student being in a small group in a mega church is a necessity. Student small groups make a big church small, you feel like you’re a part of something and that you belong and are not just a number.
We’d love to hear how what you do to make sure your students are connected to the ministry. E-mail us or comment this post and we’ll pass the information on for everyone. Bottom line…mega church or a small church we all have the same goal, bringing the students closer to God and having a relationship with Him.
What do you do to get your students connected?