School Christian Groups: Where do I start?
Getting teachers to help, and choosing the right leaders for your group.
For some of us, the new school year is about to begin. New school shoes are being bought, students are travelling to the shops to pick up funky pens and new pencil cases, mums are taking down hems and sewing buttons back on, boys are getting their hair cut. Everyone’s getting ready to go back to school.
Some of you will be heading back to a school that already has an established Christian group. Some of you will be at a school with no Christian group at all.
In our previous article, we were reminded that being a Christian at high school is hard! So being involved in a school Christian group is a great idea! You can be encouraged, and encourage others, to keep following Jesus. Together you can be a light to those around you.
But if there isn’t already a Christian group in your school then you’re asking the question ‘Where do I start?’ The job can look very overwhelming, but never fear! Here are a few ideas to make getting a Christian group started a little easier.
1. Get help from teachers
Now I hear what you’re saying, ‘Teachers? Really? Do we have to get teachers involved? Lame!’ But from my experience, having a teacher or two on your side can make setting up your Christian group much easier.
If you DO have a scripture teacher or Christian studies teacher at your school ...
Get them involved! Having a mature Christian adult to help you is a real blessing. They can help you work out things like:
- What to teach
- Who should be a leader
- When is the best time to have your group (they have access to the school's master timetable of who’s using what when and can make sure there aren’t any timetable clashes)
They might even be willing to train some of your leaders to give talks or run small groups. They can also help out if anything goes wrong, like if leaders are disagreeing on things or another teacher is using the room that you’ve booked. So set up a time to meet with your scripture teacher, or Christian studies teacher to find out if they can help.
If you DON'T have a scripture teacher or Christian studies teacher at your school ....
Then it’s still good to have a teacher or two on side. They can help you with things like:
- When is the best time to have your group (remember the master timetable)
- Any discipline issues that might come up (nobody wants to have to tell off their friends)
- Getting access to things you might need (e.g. a classroom to meet in, music gear so you can sing together, the food tech rooms so that you can have an evangelistic breakfast, etc)
If you know a teacher that is a Christian, chat to them about whether they would like to be involved. If not, talk to a teacher that you trust and ask if they would be happy to help you. And who knows, you might get a chance to share the gospel with them!
If you don’t have the support of a teacher don’t worry! It’s still possible to start your group! You may just have to be a bit more creative with how/where you meet (e.g. meet in the library or outside in the playground).
2. Choosing leaders
1 Timothy 3:1-13 gives us a bit of help. Paul is outlining some of the characteristics of a church leader. Here are a few below:
- Not quarrelsome
- Not greedy
- Someone who keeps hold of the gospel
To put Paul’s list into high school Christian group context I’m suggesting 3 things to look for in a leader.
1. They must follow Jesus and want others to know and follow him too
Paul talks about this as someone who ‘keeps hold of the gospel’. This is what your Christian group is on about! So your leaders need to be on about it too. Don't choose the most popular person, choose the most gospel-focused person.
2. They must be seeking to be more like Jesus
They need to be the kind of person who loves reading God’s word, getting to know him better and becoming more like him. Are they showing any of those characteristics that Paul suggests in his list?
3. They must be willing and able to lead
You want leaders who want to be there. They need to be committed to leading this group, whether it’s starting brand new or just starting back again in 2013. They also need to be able to make it every week. If they’re a very busy person who isn’t willing to make time to come to your group, then they probably shouldn’t be leading it. Even if they’re really good at leading.
Choosing leaders can be tricky. That is one of the reasons it’s so good to have a teacher on board. But if you’re a group of students that are choosing leaders, then having some type of ‘leadership criteria’ might be helpful. You could even just use the 3 points above to help your group decide who should lead and who shouldn’t.
Finding a teacher or two to help you and choosing leaders are important things to think about if you’re starting a Christian group or if you just want to make yours better. Next week we’ll look at what to do at your Christian group each week.