You don’t have to call it small group, you can call it something else that appeals to the teens. In my ministry I have seen many different names used: HYPe (Hyattsville Young People), Teens Rock, and The Attic (a small group that met in an attic) among other names.
How & Where?
One of the most effective ways to keep Teens in the church and to reach out to non-Christian Teens is the Teens Small Group. Teen Small Groups can meet once a week for an hour and a half. The small group meeting takes place at the home of a Teen Friendly Family (most recommended), a nicely arranged Teen Room at the church, or another place which is friendly, safe, and appropriate for teens to meet. The small group meeting is an informal meeting, without formal dress codes and traditional hang ups; teens must feel comfortable in order for the small group to be a successful one.
The leader or leaders of the small group must be young adults or adults, who are able to relate to teens, are trusted by teens, and are also trusted by the parents of the teens. The leaders, though cool and flexible, must be reliable, firm, and able to say NO and counsel, without being judgmental. The leader must also be able to lead teens in a fun study of the Bible; otherwise the ministry will not be successful. Leaders must be willing to share their leadership and help to form Teen leaders.
The program must be simple and attractive, with lots of interaction among the small group members. Sample Program:
- Share Joys and Concerns
- Prayer Session (Be creative with these prayer sessions; find different ways to approach God and make prayer a very special time for the teens)
- Bible Study (this is not a sermon, it must be a lively discussion, where the leader serves as the facilitator)
- *For the study, the leader can pick a Bible book and use a lesson guide, especially prepared for teens. The leader can also pick topics of relevance for teenagers and study them; always bringing the group to the Biblical counsel regarding such topic. You can find resources for teen small groups in the LINKS SECTION of this website.
- Announcements of upcoming activities and events
- Leaders must be real.
- Always have an appeal to do something positive at the end of the study.
- Always remind teens to bring their friends from community, neighborhood, and school.
- Without forcing anyone, remember to mention baptism. Talk about that as the “cool thing to do” among teens; it is actually the coolest thing that a teen can do.
- Don’t use the weekly small group meeting time for social activities, keep it happy and spiritual.
- Plan social activities once or twice a month, at another time, which is not the small group time.
- Don’t be afraid to deal with tough topics and taboo (drugs, sex, homosexuality, peer pressure, eating disorders, fashion, STDs, among many others.
- Keep opininionated, judgmental, closed minded and legalistic young adults and adults away from your group.
- Measure the effectiveness of the ministry (attendance, mood, what are teens saying about it, baptisms, and teens becoming leaders in the church)