In Matthew 22 Jesus sums up the whole law in what is called the “Greatest Commandment”. It’s to love your God and to love your neighbor. I love this. It’s simple, to the point and effective but not always the easiest thing to do. When I read this passage this morning it made me think about the “greatest commandment” when it comes to leading small groups for high school students and I came up with this and I think it’s simple, to the point and effective but not always the easiest thing to do:
We as leaders are to be open and honest and lead by example; are to love those are in the group even though they are messy.
When I think about it, small groups who have these two things do pretty well.
Honesty: When a leader is honest, the group is honest. When the leader is honest about their own struggles and doesn’t feel like they need to hide their struggles because they are the “leader” it benefits all. Group members are then more likely to be honest about what is going on in their lives as well. We all know that this is an open flood gate. Once one person breaks the walls the majority will follow. The leader needs to be that person. I think when a leader is honest and says, “You know what? I don’t know but I’ll find out and get back to you” about a certain topic or question speaks wonders to students rather than pretending you know everything and then give bad theology in an answer they pulled from no where in Scripture. Students need to see you are learning too but you are willing to go on that journey with them.
Love: Being a loving group is one of the most attractive things to students who are in not in one at all. To have that community where they can be honest and not be judged but be loved, forgiven and shown grace is huge. Those things are attractive to all. Who does not want to feel that? Yes, fun games, big events, great music could be attractive too but we know that those things are to funnel students to groups where they will stick because they are loved and known by leaders who are honest and are on a journey with them in their faith.
These are the greatest commandments of small groups.