As a Small Group leader, you aren’t so much a TEACHER, you’re more of a conversational GUIDE. Your aim is to help students connect to the truth in God’s Word and with one another. Because of this, Small Group leadership is more art than science. And each week there are new challenges to the goal of digging more in-depth, so you must come prepared each week to help steer the conversation toward a connection to God’s Word.


Many connect group leaders long for deep conversations with students. They want to see those “A-ha” moments where the lightbulb comes on. So, we gauge success based on whether it seems like students are having deep conversations. But this mindset can make you frustrated because it creates an unrealistic and vague target. Not all students want to have heavy conversations each week. Plus, having a profoundly theological group discussion doesn’t necessarily equal being deep. Depth isn’t primarily about having complex theological conversations (although you will be talking theology), it’s about engagement.  Depth is about connecting the heart of Scripture with the heart of your students. So, with that in mind, it’s important to look at the phases of Connect Group depth:


Mostly distracted, disinterested small talk. Maybe you asked the questions, but the answers are pointless and off-base. They said, “Jesus,” but the answer was the opposite. At least you asked them how their day was.


Your students enjoy telling you about their day and are somewhat honest with you; perhaps, too honest. They don’t mind expressing some of their struggles but are still slightly guarded.


You know your group, and they know you. You’re honest, direct and open with one another during group time. Things are good, but accountability and time together outside of group time is lacking.


This is Acts 2:42 at its finest. You have fun, share hard things, are there for each other, and they seek you out for advice about life. Their prayer requests are more personal now. And it’s a good thing that your group may not need you.



Johnny serves as the Student Pastor at First Colleyville Church in Colleyville, Texas. He’s been pastoring students for just over 14 years and is a graduate of the Youth Cartel and finishing his certification as a Youth Ministry Coach. He and his wife Alisha have two daughters named Ellie and Emory. When not doing student ministry, Johnny can be found building cabinets, fishing or taking his daughters on adventures.