Small groups/discipleship groups/classes--whatever your fancy--are a great place for relationships to be built. With students, this is the place to share exciting moments, struggles, goals, dreams, fears, accomplishments, and future plans.
As leaders, there is an incredible opportunity to lead your people to filter and understand all of these emotions, thoughts, and experiences through the lens of Scripture. This only happens when we get to the deep and real stuff inside of us. It requires vulnerability and trust.
We have probably all been a part of or even led some type of group where lessons and discussions were great, but sharing the depths of the real things didn’t really happen. So many groups live on the surface of life without ever plunging into the true things members are walking through.
With teens, often times our groups are more than just two or three because they love to be with their friends. It is also likely that the place you serve does not have enough leaders to have ratios this small between adult leaders and students.
Even from your own life experiences you have probably noticed that you are most vulnerable, truthful, and trustworthy amongst a small number of people. Thinking back to my own middle/high school experiences, there is no way I would have confessed my struggles with a group of 10 of my peers. But a group of two or three? Maybe.
How do we take steps toward greater vulnerability and trust in our small groups?
Make your group even smaller. Take opportunities to divide leaders and students into smaller groups. If you have 12 girls in your group, one leader take six girls and the other take the other six. If you are the only leader, give your girls opportunities to lead in the smaller groups. Even if you have 4 or 5 girls in your group, what a great moment to really hear about their lives in even smaller groups. Spend time in prayer together. Talk about the real stuff. Use those smaller times to drive follow up and accountability. Check in with one another during the week. Create some goals that each girl can take steps toward until you meet together again. You could change up who is part of which smaller group each time.
This is an avenue that will allow more girls opportunities to share openly and honestly about questions, doubts, fears, joys, and real life issues. Take an opportunity to lead smaller. As more girls have space to share, the depths of encouragement, challenge, and accountability grow in exponential ways. - Becca