Great Group Leaders Go Beyond Meetings
What happens every time you meet with your group, whether it be in a Sunday School or a small group setting, is vital. Preparation for the session is important. Being authentic and transparent with your students helps them take you seriously. And pointing them to the truth of God’s Word is the main goal. But there is something every great group leader can do that will take his or her group to the next level.
Going beyond the meeting.
When it comes to connecting with your group of students, what they experience in the weekly meeting is important, but the impact you can have on them outside that time is exponential. Think of all the ways you, as a leader, can go beyond the meeting:
- Phone call
- Text message
- Showing up at a game to either watch them play or watch with them
- Meeting them for lunch at school
- Stopping by their home just to say hello and to pray with them
When you step into the life of a student you have a far greater opportunity to impact them for Christ. When they know you are invested in a relationship with them, they will listen more, trust what you say more, and follow your leadership more. When it comes to going beyond the meeting, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind—things that can help and hinder the relationships you have with your students:
Things that help:
- Remembering a student’s birthday
- Knowing when they are facing something important: a big test, a family challenge at home, graduation, or a big game or event they are a part of
- Being real. Don’t pretend you know what’s going on when you don’t. Students can sniff out a fake better than anyone else. They would prefer you honestly tell them when you don’t know something or forgot something important than for you to pretend you did.
Things that don’t help:
- Mass emails to your group. There is nothing personal about them. They are seen, if at all, for what they are: quick ways to convey information but nothing personal that can help build a relationship.
- Surface level conversation. “How are you?” and “What’s up?” may be standard ways to greet them but you must get beyond the surface level to a point where you can speak into their lives. A helpful way is to be open and honest yourself to help students know they can trust you, which leads to…
- Breaking trust. Don’t do it. Ever. Make sure your group knows that you are a person they can trust with what they share. Obviously, when students face big problems that authorities or parents need to know about, you need to step up and make wise decisions. But when it comes to personal information, make sure you keep what your students share between you and them.
Being a great group leader isn’t easy. The challenges are many, the appreciation for what you do can seem negligible, especially when working with students. But it is critical in order to make an eternal impact in their lives that you walk with them beyond the meetings. Become that leader and develop relationships with your students that will allow you to impact them for the Kingdom.