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small group leader, youth ministry, student ministry

Small Group Leaders Start Here Part 2

By Cheryl Franklin Baertschi September 7, 2017

Your small group leaders have just met their students for the year.  But what happens next? In my last blog, I recommended 3 steps to help leaders get a healthy start. Now I’d like to share what should happen after that initial meeting.

1) Keep praying!

God, in His perfect plan, has placed a specific group of students with each of your small group leaders. Remind them that the most important thing they can do for their students is to pray daily for them throughout the year.

2) Communicate regularly with students.

Now that your leaders have that index card filled out, it’s time to have them put it to use. (Be sure to keep extra index cards on hand for new students each week.) Small group leaders should use that information to communicate regularly with the students. I have found that sending texts is one of the easiest ways to communicate. Encourage your leaders to send a text soon after their initial meeting with the students in their small group. They might say that they’re glad a student came or that they really enjoyed getting to meet a new student. A quick text message can also serve as a great reminder about youth group the following week or as a way to hear prayer requests and updates. Texting does not take long, but it can really help your leaders connect with students more than once a week.

3) Call parents.

Consider asking your leaders to make a phone call to their students’ parents within the first 3 weeks of the new ministry year. (Yep, that’s right, have them check their index cards for their phone numbers!) When I make a phone call like this, I typically introduce myself and tell parents that I will be their child’s small group leader for the year. I let them know that I am looking forward to getting to know their student, and I ask them if there is anything about their child that they would like for me to know. I give them my phone number and ask them to call me if there is anything I can do to support them and their child during the school year. Don’t skip this step! As a parent, I have always greatly appreciated when this was done for my kids. It strengthened my connection with the youth group, and it encouraged me to pray regularly for my child’s small group leader!

“It’s too difficult to answer the 4 Cries of a Student’s Heart after only spending one night per week with a student.”

4) Schedule One-on-Ones.

Challenge your small group leaders to schedule appointments for individual times with each student in their small group. It’s too difficult to answer the 4 Cries of a Student’s Heart after only spending one night per week with a student. I have found that one meeting over a Frappuccino or ice cream cone is like a “getting-to- know-you” session on steroids…even with the quieter types. Have your leaders study that index card about their students’ interests and hobbies; that information can serve as a conversation starter. Prepare your leaders to be ready to listen. These appointments don’t need to be long. Shoot for 45-60 minutes. After all, small group leaders lead busy lives, too. But be sure to keep reminding them that these kinds of one-on-ones will set them up to go deeper with a student throughout the year.

Encourage your leaders and thank them for your willingness to commit to this important role! Let them know that they can do this! If God called them to it, He will equip them for the job! Not only that, He’ll equip you to equip them.

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About the Author

Cheryl Franklin Baertschi

Cheryl Franklin Baertschi and her husband live in Carmel, Indiana and have raised 4 boys. After their youngest left the nest 6 years ago, she decided to fill the quiet house with high school and college age girls that she could encourage, mentor and disciple. She continues to learn daily from them.