“The Secret Ingredient: What Sets Outstanding Student Small Group Leaders Apart”

Jody Livingston   -  

Do you want to know the secret ingredient to being an outstanding student small group leader is?

I am now in my twenty-fourth year of being a student pastor. Over that time, I’ve seen my share of student ministry small group leaders.

Overwhelmingly, most of those have been great volunteers who have loved teens, loved Jesus, love the Bible, and loved the Church. There have been some though that were outstanding. These leaders impacted the lives of the students they served, that was significantly more impactful than other leaders. Parents saw these leaders as teammates and advocates. I saw these leaders as priceless.

So what is the secret ingredient that these leaders had that others failed to have?

Outstanding student small group leaders show up.

It doesn’t sound like much, but it is. Showing up is harder than it seems. After all, if it was easy, everyone would do it and there’d be nothing for me to share here.

So what do I mean when I say outstanding student small group leaders show up? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Outstanding student small group leaders show up consistently to small group.

Life happens, sure, but when a small group leader shows up every week, their students learn they can be trusted. Student recognize the small group leader cares and that their group is a priority. In a world where few seem to stay committed too much, a small group leader that shows up consistently breaks the mold. Showing up every week makes more of an impact than you realize.

Outstanding student small group leaders show up prepared each week for small group.

Showing up communicates importance, but showing up prepared communicated value. When students see their small group leader showing up on time and prepared each week, they understand small group is important, and that what is discussed matters.

It’s easy to mail it in some weeks. Don’t think your students don’t notice. When you show up unprepared, you communicate you don’t value the discussion.

Outstanding student small group leaders show up in their students’ lives beyond small group.

Showing up to small group communicates importance. Showing up to small group prepared each week communicates that what we discuss each week has value. When a small group leader shows up in a student’s life outside of midweek, this communicates care.

I can speak to this as a parent and a youth pastor. When my kids small group leaders show up for their games, plays, shows, etc., my kids light up. It will be all that is talked about on the way home in the car.

Showing up for your students beyond small group makes them feel known, cared for, noticed, and loved. Your students expect you to be at small group. They expect you to be prepared when you show up. In some ways, this is “your job” as a small group leader. When you show up at their things, in their world, in their lives…well, they know you don’t have to do that, but you did because you wanted to.

So, the question for you then is this:

Will you show up for your small group?

Will you be a good small group leader for your students or will you be an outstanding small group leader for your students?

HDC needs you. Your students’ parents need you. Your students in your small group need you.

This year for small group, show up.