When it comes to small groups, I want connections to happen. Small group is all about connections. It is the easiest way in our ministry to get connected to a group of people really, really quickly. Our goal is to push every student into a group so they can make connections. What we hope are life-changing connections. There are times where students (if we are honest, ourselves too) tend to draw away into isolation. We know that God created us to be in community. We were made to make connections. This is where groups come in.
Here are 3 connections I hope our students make during the year:
Connections inside the group- Group is like a family. There is not one person speaking and all the rest learning, but everyone in the group is open and honest about speaking up what is going on in their life and the whole group learns and interacts with each other. They open up about their lives, struggles and triumphs. They give and receive together. When the group is not meeting, students find themselves wondering about how their friends in the group are doing and end up praying for them.
We take a break of small groups over the summer and I was talking to some of my small group boys and they were saying how much they missed the small group setting and cant wait to see all the guys at one time again. It’s a family. It’s a huge connection to make.
Connections with people outside the group- As students grow more connected and together within the group, it becomes a way of life. The group requires it. Experiencing relationships within a healthy group gives the students a model to relate to their friends and family. They become more relationally mature. Usually what is modeled within the group then translate outside of the group into their normal lives.
I have a guy who joined actually started to live in the way all talk about in the group and he himself says that people ask him all of the time what happened to him. That he is such a joy to be around and there is something different about him. It’s Jesus. A healthy group will spark the group to act in the way Jesus calls us to live outside the walls of the group and they will connect better with people outside of the group.
A closer connection with God- As students start to connect with people in their group and then with more people outside their group, there will be a natural connection with God. As strong relationships and connectedness develop with people and through their lives with other people, students start to see how God is actively moving in their lives. As friendships grow together, their faith grows together. This is the ultimate goal. As they experience trust and openness within the group they fill find that God is more real, personal and accessible more than ever.
What are ways in which we as student pastors can make sure these connections happen?