We all have a routine. We also all have a routine in our services and small groups, and this is okay. I think there is a healthiness in routine in our groups. Our teenager’s worlds are constantly changing. Their bodies are changing, they are changing in mental development, and the world around them is changing. So having a consistant routine in our groups is a great thing because they can count on it. I think it is healthy.

But with all of that said, I think it is okay to switch things up a little bit at certain points. What do I mean by that?

My small group meets every Wednesday night from 7-9pm. The order usually goes as follows: show up, eat dinner, hang out, bible study, prayer dismiss. They know it like clock work. So this last week without letting them know but working with the parent who lets us use their house, they showed up to a pool party BBQ. The pool was heated, the BBQ was going, we had extra swim trunks and we enjoyed a night of fun and hanging out together. Why is this a big deal? Because we all ended up in the spa after dinner and we had some of the greatest conversations we have had since the beginning of the year. Shaking things up a bit can open the door for a conversation that the students themselves didn’t think they would be having coming into group. Plus who doesn’t like a pool party?

Another example would be this week in our Life Group Workshops. For workshops we have all our small groups come to our student building to get some teaching about a certain topic. It is great because it gives our leaders a break and they can just be with their students. In the middle of the message, we had all of the students get up and walk outside to a designated area we previously set up for a point in the message. Students were shocked and went along with it, but they loved it. When coming back into our room from the message where they were used to the band being on stage for a time of worship, the band was set up in the back of the room, behind everyone. The only thing on the stage was a cross. We prompted students to respond in what ever way the Lord was leading them. Some stayed in their seats and read the words, some stood with their hands raised, and some came and sat at the foot of the cross. All while the band was in the back of them room leading in worship. It definitely was awkward at first because we are used to reading the band on what to do, but students soon realized the band didn’t need to be in front of them and they only needed to focus on the cross and its meaning and they began to worship in a way I have never seen. Students then began to pray for each other around the room. It was so good!

Point? While routine is great, don’t be afraid to change things up once in while to get students out of the “church routine” because I believe you will get their attention and they will be more open to how God wants to move that night.