The 4 ‘S’ words for successful small groups
Keeping the balance between sharing, supplicating, socialising & studying
Welcome to Soulies...
Our youth group "Soulies" comes in 3 handy sized packages: Large (Soulies United yr 7-12); Medium (Soulies Junior Crew yr 7-9 + Soulies Senior Crew yr10-12); and Small (Soulies Small Groups). How do we roll at Soulies? Whether we’re small, medium or large, we want to be a community who: Love Jesus; Love Jesus’ People; Love Jesus’ World. Small Groups are an amazing opportunity for young kids to grow in their 3 loves. The medium and large gatherings are great, but so much can be done in smaller intimate groups! Our small groups are: an opportunity to grow in our worship and discipleship of Jesus; a great chance to actively serve and love fellow brothers and sisters; and encourage each other to love Jesus’ world through evangelism and social justice. Our Small Groups aren’t just “Bible Studies”
…but we do study the Bible! While spending time studying the Bible is at the heart of what we do together, it’s not all that we do. God’s Word is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV) – so we want to let God’s Spirit do His work as we study the Bible. But we also want to make sure that our small group time is not just an academic exercise. So there are 3 others things we want to be doing regularly: SHARING, SUPPLICATING, SOCIALISING.
If we want the members of our small groups to genuinely love one another, we need to allow time to share what’s going on in life. Galatians 6:2 says we are to “carry each other’s burdens…” Help your group to develop habits of honest sharing and good listening in group time. Let them know that, no matter what’s going on in life, they’re not alone.
Supplicating is kind of a weird word (I just wanted all of the elements to start with “s”). It simply means ‘to ask’, it’s one of the things we do when we pray. If we share each other’s burdens and are spending quality time in the scriptures, prayer is an obvious response. Have you heard of A.C.T.S. prayer? A = Adoration. C = Confession. T = Thanksgiving. S = Supplication. Make sure you’re not always supplicating, it’s good to have a healthy dose of ACT as well. Another thing you might want to consider for your group time is when you pray. Sometimes we tack prayer on for the final minutes of group time. You might want to kick off some weeks with prayer at the beginning or middle rather than just at the end.
It’s okay to have fun. While fun isn’t the primary aim, it’s good to facilitate time to let the good times roll! Boys socialise differently to girls – it might involve (risk managed) rumble or push-up competition. Girls socialise differently to boys – it might involve painting finger nails or braiding hair or other stereotypes. At your weekly group time, there may not be much time to socialise, and so you might aim to do something social with your group once a term outside of official group time.
I will spend time in some future articles thinking through basic principles of understanding the Bible and then packaging a suitable study… stay tuned.
DISCIPLES MAKING DISCIPLES
You won’t be able to spend equal time on each thing each week, but if you keep these 4 elements in the regular diet of what you do during your group time, you’ll go a long way to having a healthy small group.
Finally, be reminded that your primary role as a youth leader is to be a disciple making disciples. Your small group time is really the key time, and engine room of growing young disciples. Make the most of it!!