I teach Life Group in my home. I want the group to become like family and feel welcome in my living room. One way I accomplish this goal is giving them wall space among my family pictures.
Where ever you meet your students, I highly recommend having pictures of your group in the space. Even if you aren’t allowed to permanently hang pictures, I recommend bringing items where you meet that can make the space feel like home to the group while you’re there. It could be a photo album of your group, a paper mural they made, etc. Make your meeting space feel like the you and your students belong.
This is a follow up to my last post about meeting with the new small group leader my recent high school graduates have. Their new leader has the same passion I do for seeing the boys grow spiritually. We even have some of the same personality traits. We’re both kinda shy until you get to know us. For that reason, they are having trouble connecting with the guys like I did over the course of 4 years.
Here’s what our conversation helped me realize. While I did a great job of loving the guys, teaching the boys the Bible and Christian living, I didn’t set them up well for what comes after they leave my group. I knew it would be a struggle whereever they went because they would never find exactly what we have. We have developed traditions, and a unique culture.
I emailed the boys after I met with their new leader. I gave them some tips on how to connect with them. During my meeting with their leader, I also gave him some ideas for how to replicate the connections I had with them, and even gave some insight on the personality of each of the boys.
This whole conversation made me realize something that I will do from now on. Instead of hoping my boys land in a good situation whereever they go after my group, I will teach them how to take the culture of our group with them. They will, rather than look for how they will be served by their new ministry, learn how to recreate what we have in our group in the new group they join after high school.
By doing this, they will be trainers that will help other leaders develop the relational skills and traits we develop in the 4 years they are with me. Here’s the benefit, by taking this approach I am not only teaching my boys how to love God and live for him, I’m also teaching how to take our culture with them and develop it in others. I am teaching them to be teachers of healthy small group culture. This will also greatly reduce the likelihood they will graduate from their faith when they graduate from my group.
I highly recommend my leaders do the same with your students. Think of the impact you’ll have on people you’ll never meet by teaching them to take your unique culture with them. That’s for sure leaving a legacy. After we’re gone from this earth, we can still make an impact that way. I love that potential.
To read about the culture I develop with my students, download Volunteer Youth Ministry, A Roadmap For Effective Leadership