How do you start a small groups model from scratch for HS and college students? I don’t know, but I am trying really hard and praying God pulls through in a  huge way. I truly believe small groups are the answer to effective discipleship of students. Coming from a place where small groups was THE thing to do and going to a place where where there is really no structure at all, is tough. I learned a ton at Saddleback because they do small groups so well. If I can bring 10% of that into this ministry, I know we will be in the right direction and I believe we can get there. Here are some thoughts on how to take a step in the right direction:

Start with the leaders you have. Get all of them on the same page with why groups are so important and see if any of them bite. We had our first small group leader training where I got to share my heart of groups and we went through expectations, curriculum etc. Other leader will come with some work, but start with what you have. 

Set the foundation. Get groups going with new leaders now so they can set the foundation for when you want to officially launch something. When you set the foundation for how you want groups to look, feel, and what is important with who you have now, it will be easier to train the new ones that come in later. I am in year one of 3 as for vision I casted with leaders. I tend to want to jump ahead, but I just want to start with my groups now and wait to see what life hang comes out of it.

Begin to tell stories of life change. I think Andy Stanley says, “What your ministry find most important are what stories your ministry tells often.” We will begin to release stories of life change in the 10 groups we began this year in hopes this will rally students to get excited to be in one. This is one great thing Saddleback HSM continues to do, they weave in stories from small groups whenever they can into services. When we get excited as a ministry, students will begin to be as well.

Next year we plan to do a full on program, written curriculum, online registration, and big leader recruitment and training, so I’m excited to see where it goes.