Written to our Small Group leaders…
The previous post talked about the overall flow of a night at Small Groups. This will talk about the flow within that 50 minute block while you are actually IN the Small Group. This is not set in stone, but more of a guide for how to use that time with your students and minute designations are just estimations.
5-10 min – Week Recap – Don’t expect to just ‘jump right in’ with whatever lesson is on for that night. Some students haven’t seen each other since last Small Groups and maybe you haven’t seen any of them since last time either. Take a few minutes at the beginning to catch up with the highlights (or lowlights) from the past week. This will give them a designated time for sharing and this will help them focus for the rest of the time.
15-20 min – Devo Recap – With our new format for student devotions, we are placing a high priority on students being actively engaged in Scripture outside of church. By devoting a good chunk of time to recapping what they’ve read, they will see its importance and want to participate in the discussion. So instead of just asking “How many days did you do your devos?”, you can actually say, “Ok, Jimmy, on Wednesday when we were reading in _________, what did you put down for #3?”
20 -25 min – Lesson – This is where you (as a group) discuss that night’s lesson. I’m sure as you are looking through your leader guide, you will see there’s probably enough material for a 3 hour discussion. So pick a couple of your favorite questions/illustrations/etc (or come up with your own!) and use those to get a ‘solid’ 20 minute(ish) discussion out of them. Remember, this is not meant to be a 20 minute lecture where you (the leader) talk and they (the students) listen. Emphasize discussion and inclusion of everyone in it.
10-15 min – Prayer Requests/Prayer – This is an easy one to rush through or skip all together. Since it’s usually at the end, it becomes expendable, but fight the urge to just say, “Well, who wants to close in prayer?” Have students share requests and have them write down those requests so that they can (ideally) pray for them during the week. This is also for you so you can follow-up with requests during the week (through Facebook/email/text message) or just at a later meeting (“Hey Jenny, how’s __________ going?”). It shows that you care and helps build into the students a value of prayer in their own lives. Be sure to give students opportunities to pray OUTLOUD for each other too. It might seem weird and scary for some, but after awhile they might feel comfortable enough to join in. Again, we (you) are building the value of prayer and praying for each other into their lives.